We Cannot Help Puerto Rico 'Forever!'

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FEMA's focus, the official said, is to "move from the response phase to recovery", adding the recovery phase often takes years.

WASHINGTON-The House of Representatives on Thursday is expected to pass legislation that would provide $36.5 billion in disaster relief for victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires, as well as emergency credit to help Puerto Rico keep its government functioning.

Despite the back and forth, the source echoed White House assurances from press secretary Sarah Sanders that the Trump administration is fully committed to Puerto Rico's recovery from Maria.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said it was the federal government's responsibility right now to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, but added he wanted to see the island become more self-sufficient.

Hours after that message was posted, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said via Twitter, "The U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are requesting the support that any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation". The social media company's video from the island, however, took flak from tech critics as being insensitive to Puerto Rico.


"Mr. President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill", Cruz said in a statement.

The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the United States territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials.

"It is shameful that President Trump is threatening to abandon these Americans when they most need the federal government's help", said Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat.

Bernie Williams, a Puerto Rico native, is lending a hand in Hurricane Maria efforts.

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Democrats, however, pounced on Trump's tweets.


Puerto Rico lost population and jobs after Congress eliminated special tax breaks in 2006, making it more hard to repay its debts.

A steady series of disasters could put 2017 on track to rival Hurricane Katrina and other 2005 storms as the most costly set of disasters ever.

The bill includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund. An additional $577 million would pay for western firefighting efforts.

His comments - in which he also blamed the beleaguered island for a financial crisis "largely of their own making" and infrastructure that was a "disaster" before the hurricane - come as Puerto Rico still reels from a lack of electricity, public health access and a rising death toll. He has promised that the island will get what it needs.

"It's not easy when you're used to living in an American way of life, and then somebody tells you that you're going to be without power for six or eight months", said Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, who represents Puerto Rico as a nonvoting member of Congress.


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