We can not aid Puerto Rico 'forever'


Puerto Rico is struggling to recover after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island, leaving 44 people dead and cutting power and running water to much of its population, and its governor this week appealed to Trump for billions in additional federal aid. Puerto Rico has about 24 industrial waste sites contaminated by industries including pesticides and battery recycling.

At a White House briefing, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was asked whether Mr. Trump believed Puerto Ricans were American citizens deserving of the same access to federal aid as Texans and Floridians. A FEMA spokeswoman later said the agency would remain in Puerto Rico and other disaster-hit areas "every day" throughout their recoveries.

Short also argued it was wrong for the government to take this moment to expand hurricane relief into larger assistance for Puerto Rico.

Trump "is simply incapable of understanding the contributions, the sacrifices and the commitment to democratic values that Puerto Ricans have shown over decades", San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said in a lengthy statement. But Trump's tweets Thursday raised questions about whether the USA would remain there for the long haul.

Although it was free to play in Thursday's game, Chestnut Academy sold baked goods and water with all proceeds going to the victims of Hurricane Maria.

Democratic Representative Nydia Velázquez of NY, which has a large Puerto Rican community, said the relief package was "just the start" of federal aid to the island, where large areas remain without electricity or running water three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

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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.

But it is Trump's tone toward Puerto Rico that has drawn the most criticism.

Former Republican Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno said he was baffled by the President's tweets.

"Today, we must act quickly to ensure that the federal government is able to fulfill its duty to the millions of Americans in need", Frelinghuysen said on the House floor.

Ryan says "we've got to do more to help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy" but that the immediate humanitarian crisis must be addressed. So some are turning to wells at Superfund sites on the island-areas designated the most toxic in United States territory.

Ryan will travel to the island with House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey and Rep. Nita Lowey of NY, the top Democrat on the panel. The measure now heads to the Senate, which returns from a weeklong recess next week.