Senate Republicans are blasting Democrats for playing politics with disaster relief after a bill to help flood-stricken areas was voted down because it didn’t include enough money for Puerto Rico for hurricane rebuilding. The bill did include $600 million for Puerto Rico, but Democrats want to add $700 million more. Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio accuse the Democrats of playing political games to force more money for Puerto Rico at the expense of Middle Americans who need help right away.
President Trump jumped into the fray with a Twitter barrage, arguing that Puerto Rico has already received far more hurricane aid than Texas and Florida combined ($91 billion to Puerto Rico, $29 billion to Texas, $12 billion to Florida), but it’s still a “mess” because its incompetent and corrupt government isn’t spending the money wisely.
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This is one of those stories that can easily get muddled in partisan accusations (Republicans are racists who don’t care about Puerto Ricans/Democrats think you can solve every problem by throwing more tax money at it and don’t care about Heartland America.) So before you decide what to believe, let’s hear from someone who is not political, who is Puerto Rican, lives and works in Puerto Rico, and is involved in helping with the recovery, but who refuses to work with the local government because of its corruption and incompetence.
He wrote this op-ed in 2017, warning not to let Puerto Rican officials play the victim and fool Congress into sending unlimited relief funds that they will mishandle. It sounds as if some in Congress didn’t see this, so here it is again for their consideration.