The Republicans in the House have introduced a new disaster relief package, to the tune of about $36.5 billion. That looks good on paper, but Puerto Rico still get what it needs to recover from hurricane damage.
As of right now, 85 percent of homes in Puerto Rico still lack electricity due to severe hurricane damage.
House Republicans are going to give the island a loan of $4.9 billion, which Puerto Rico will have to pay back—with interest.
But Puerto Rico’s debt is already around $74 billion. So this “relief” will add even more to Puerto Rico’s staggering debt.
As early as October 31 of this year, Puerto Rico’s government could run completely out of money. This would lead to a government shutdown, and where would that leave the hurricane-devastated island?
And while the House introduced a bill offering money to Puerto Rico that they have to pay back, the Republicans authoring the bill also wiped out someone else’s debt.
The new relief package will wipe the National Flood Insurance Program’s $16 billion debt clean. The NFIP recently borrowed $30.4 billion from the Treasury Department.
As for Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands—also hit hard by hurricanes—they will receive $13.58 billion in disaster relief funds.
While Puerto Rico struggles to recover from the damage, the President of the United States is lambasting the island through Twitter.
Donald Trump said recently on Twitter that Puerto Rico has a total lack of “accountability,” and states that “electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.”
“We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”
Again, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. The island is a territory of the U.S., and has been for decades.
Puerto Ricans sign up to the U.S. military in huge numbers, and have fought alongside American soldiers in every major conflict this nation has known.
The death toll in Puerto Rico continues to rise, even three weeks after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. The island still has few fully-functioning hospitals, and many residents completely lack access to clean water and food.
There are some deaths that occur during hurricanes that cannot be prevented. But weeks after the hurricane, when people are still dying, that’s the fault of a government that isn’t doing enough to help.
It’s the fault of the American government, which is ultimately responsible for taking care of its own territories—like Puerto Rico.
The relief package provided to Puerto Rico really isn’t relief at all. It’s just more debt that the already-devastated government has to worry about.
And don’t forget—the U.S. government is going to charge them interest on the loan, too.
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