Pa. congressman says Puerto Rico hurricane victims aren't dying

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

President Donald Trump on Thursday pushed back against federal aid for Puerto Rico as the House of Representatives prepared to weigh $36.5 billion in emergency relief for the USA territory and other hurricane-hit areas as well as fire-ravaged California. A FEMA spokeswoman later said the agency would remain in Puerto Rico and other disaster-hit areas "every day" throughout their recoveries. "He was asking me, 'What do we need to do next?'" Rubio told Reuters.

However Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, who is a member of the House foreign affairs committee, told CNN's Chris Cuomo Thursday there's only "so much" the USA can do to help Puerto Rico.

"They're a very important part of who we are", he said, later adding: "(Puerto Rico) should not be abandoned".

The House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package Thursday to help victims struggling to recover from a string of devastating hurricanes and wildfires.

In a series of tweets, the president added, "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes". He said federal responders could not stay in the territory "forever".

"They are doing whatever they can", Perry said.

"A lot of Students at Chestnut Academy are either from Puerto Rico or have family members in Puerto Rico, so we thought a baseball game would be a fun way to get the community together such as the C-3 police and the Brightwood Medical Center", Lingel told 22News.

The House easily passed the bill, with the Senate expected to do so later month and send it to Trump for signing into law.

Officials in Puerto Rico have said it could take $5 billion to get the island's electrical infrastructure up and running again. "But what's the alternative?" he said. He also asked Cuomo to "quantify" his statement.

The White House is looking at how to address the long-term needs, including how to rebuild the power grid. Authorities told CNN on Wednesday that the death toll had gone up to 45, but at least some 113 people were still unaccounted for.

"They're basically three weeks now living in the 19th century", Rubio said.

Earlier this week, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló raised the death toll from the storm to 43. Reassuring the island, Kelly said the USA will "stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done".

As for the issue of accountability, the president may have been referring to reports of inefficiency and mismanagement among Puerto Rico's local governments.

The island is also running out of money for Medicaid, the US health insurance program for the poor, which about half its residents counted on even before the storm threw many people out of work. In the meantime, he said he thinks Congress will find money to help Puerto Rico avert the cliff.

White House chief of staff John Kelly, speaking to reporters, said the military and other emergency responders were trying very hard to "work themselves out of a job".

Other reports by iNewsToday