Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pelosi rips Trump's 'heartbreaking' warning to Puerto Rico

Pelosi rips Trump's 'heartbreaking' warning to Puerto Rico

The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the USA 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.

Almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, the vast majority of the island remains without power and the death toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities said.

The backlash to Trump's tweet was immediate on Capitol Hill, with a chorus of Democrats joining Pelosi in condemning the president's message. The remarks quickly prompted cries from Democratic lawmakers, who argue that Puerto Rico still needs a lot of help, as well as the mayor of San Juan, who said they were "unbecoming" and appeared to come from a "hater in chief". Congress to decide how much to spend.We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been wonderful (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!

Trump's comments are his latest remarks on Puerto Rico to offer a mix of criticism and support - and to draw what seems to be a direct response from local politicians in the US territory.

The debate played out as the House headed toward passage of a $36.5 billion disaster aid package, including assistance for Puerto Rico.

Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Maria, about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March.


The Trump administration has come under attack by critics who say federal help was slow to arrive in Puerto Rico.

FEMA says there are now some 19,000 federal civilian personnel and military service members - including more than 1,400 FEMA personnel - working in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Successful recoveries do not last forever", she added. Katrina required about $110 billion in emergency appropriations. Trump then seemed to indicate he may pull federal relief workers, including those under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, from the island.

Up to $5 billion of the FEMA money could be used to help local governments remain functional as they endure unsustainable cash shortfalls in the aftermath of Maria, which has choked off revenues and strained resources.

"It's heartbreaking and it lacks knowledge. about what the role is for FEMA and the others in time of natural disaster [and] what our responsibility is as the federal government to the people of our country", Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, testifying before the House financial services committee, said that he has "no intention" of abandoning recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. "It's not easy when you are continue to suffer — see the suffering of the people without food, without water, and actually living in a humanitarian crisis".

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