House Passes $36.5 Billion Disaster Aid Bill To Help Puerto Rico

US-STORM-POLITICS-TRUMP

President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that Puerto Rico is going to have to shoulder more responsibility for recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria, saying the federal government's emergency responders can't stay there "forever".

"I would then again say, 'What is enough?' What is the right amount to satisfy whoever says we're not doing enough", he said on "New Day".

And Alejandro García Padilla, the former governor of Puerto Rico, said it is important be plain about what this is: "racist".

"The Post wrote in its editorial that a majority of the population in Puerto Rico is still without power; many don't have access to clean water".

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria wrought mass devastation on Puerto Rico, the island is still struggling to restore basic services.

Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the island last week to reaffirm the USA commitment to the island's recovery.

"It is time to stop treating the people of Puerto Rico like second-class citizens".

Cruz's comments were likely in response to early morning tweets Thursday from the president, where he said Congress needs to act quickly to provide relief because "FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been incredible (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!"

Trump's remarks on Thursday cap those he said while visiting the island on October 3 when he said Puerto Rico's hurricane wasn't a "real catastrophe" like Hurricane Katrina and that response to relief efforts were "throwing our budget a little out of whack".

"This country, our country, will stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done", Kelly told reporters at the White House, adding that the president's tweet on Thursday morning was "exactly accurate".

Captain Scott Miller, a spokesman for the USA military's Northern Command, which is overseeing Puerto Rico relief operations, said there had been no instructions to dial back aid. Ryan is set to visit Puerto Rico on Friday. The death toll in Florida after Hurricane Irma, which made landfall on September 10, also reached 75, the Miami Herald reported, not counting the more than 38 people who died in the Caribbean. For now, it ignores huge demands from the powerful Florida and Texas delegations, which together pressed for some $40 billion more.

Several lawmakers from hurricane-hit states said a third interim aid request is anticipated shortly - with a final, huge hurricane recovering and rebuilding package likely to be acted upon by the end of the year.

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