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Trump SLAMS corrupt Puerto Rican gov’t

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Trump SLAMS corrupt Puerto Rican gov’t

Post by Harry on Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:26 pm

Trump SLAMS corrupt Puerto Rican gov’t

October 12, 2017

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President Donald Trump lashed out at hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico on Thursday, insisting that the federal government can’t prop up the island’s failed liberal government “forever” and suggesting corruption was to blame for its inability to restore power and order.

His broadsides triggered an outcry from Democrats in Washington, D.C. and their political allies on the island, which has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago, leaving death and destruction.

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The debate played out as the House headed toward passage of a $36.5 billion disaster aid package, including assistance for Puerto Rico. House Speaker Paul Rya said the government needs to ensure that Puerto Rico can “begin to stand on its own two feet.”

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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.

Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the island last week to offer the U.S. commitment to the island’s recovery.

Democrats said Trump’s attacks were “shameful,” and claimed the 3 million-plus U.S. citizens on Puerto Rico are confronting the kind of hardships that would draw howls of outrage if they affected a state.

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“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.

After years of economic challenges, Puerto Rico was under a massive $74 billion deficit before the hurricane struck.

Puerto Rico lost population and jobs after Congress eliminated special tax breaks in 2006, making it more difficult to repay its debts. Yet instead of cutting their budget, Puerto Rico’s Democratic leadership continued to borrow and run into massive debt despite its economic struggles.

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For over a decade, bloated pension plans spiraled out-of-control, borrowing continued, and infrastructure deteriorated.

The legislative aid package totals $36.5 billion and sticks close to a White House request. For now, it ignores huge demands from the powerful Florida and Texas delegations, which together pressed for some $40 billion more.

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. Katrina required about $110 billion in emergency appropriations.

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The bill combines $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency with $16 billion to permit the financially troubled federal flood insurance program pay an influx of Harvey-related claims. An additional $577 million would pay for western firefighting efforts.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this article

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