Things That Matter

Trump Refuses To Release Vital Aid To Puerto Rico In Wake Of Damaging Earthquakes

Over three dozen Democratic lawmakers have demanded Housing Secretary Ben Carson explain why the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department is breaking the law to withhold $8.3 billion in aid from Puerto Rico. 

Representative Nydia Valesquez led the charge in writing a letter signed by 41 Democrats to Carson on Monday, suggesting that the Trump administration has no real justification for withholding the hurricane readiness assistance. 

HUD was supposed to disburse $9.7 billion to the commonwealth beginning last September but has since only given $1.5 billion of the allocated funds, according to the New York Daily News. 

HUD says Puerto Rico won’t be getting their due funds anytime soon.

The nearly ten billion dollars in funds were allocated by congress to improve Puerto Rico’s natural disaster readiness in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes that killed roughly 3,000 people. The funds proved to be necessary when multiple earthquakes ranging from 4.1 to 6.4 in magnitude that left thousands without power. 

“We have repeatedly implored Secretary Carson to follow the law, do right by Puerto Rico and release the assistance our fellow citizens are legally due,” Velazquez told the Daily News.

HUD claims they are denying release of the funds due to corruption they cited no evidence of and failed to specify. The executive branch cannot legally withhold congressionally approved funds. 

“Given the Puerto Rican government’s history of financial mismanagement, corruption and other abuses, we must ensure that any HUD assistance provided helps those on the island who need it the most: the people of Puerto Rico,” the senior agency official told the Daily News. “Puerto Rico already has access to $1.5 billion and has so far only spent $5.8 million — less than 1% of those funds.” 

Democrats ban together to demand the release of the remaining funds to Puerto Rico. 

“Due to the new emergency at hand and the urgency of the situation, we are officially requesting an in-person meeting,” the Democrats wrote in the letter to Carson. “It is your responsibility as secretary of HUD to provide members of Congress an explanation as to why your department has chosen to violate the law by withholding these critical resources. Puerto Ricans have waited too long.”

Velazquez, who grew up in Puerto Rico, even wrote a separate letter to Carson, who has responded to neither effort. This isn’t the first time Democrats have led a charge against the Trump administration regarding funds to Puerto Rico. Just last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded the release of the aid which was approved for housing development, infrastructure needs, and economic revitalization.

“We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference last week. “There are needs that need to be met, there has been a disaster designated, but the ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal.”

Velasquez told the Daily News that the Trump administration’s constant withholding of aide has a more sinister motivation. 

“The real motivation for withholding these dollars is Donald Trump’s disdain for the people of Puerto Rico and heartless disregard for their suffering,” Velazquez said

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he plans on leading a delegation to Puerto Rico this week to assess whether New York State can send additional disaster recovery. 

The Washington Post editorial board releases the op-ed “Puerto Ricans should never forget how Trump treated them.”

“Here’s what Puerto Rico has endured over the past two years: a devastating hurricane that killed and displaced thousands of people and plunged the island into months of darkness; an incompetent and corrupt local government; a bungled and halfhearted emergency response from the federal government,” the editorial board wrote. “Now, even as hurricane recovery remains incomplete, a new natural disaster: a 6.4-magnitude earthquake followed by powerful aftershocks.”

The earthquakes displaced 2,000 people without power, left nearly the entire island without electricity, and roughly 250,000 people without water. Trump approved $5 million in FEMA aid following the declaration of a state of emergency but the number pales in comparison to what Puerto Rico is owed. The Washington Post noted a study that showed the federal government responded more quickly and effectively to hurricanes in Texas and Florida — where Trump has a large deal of support — in comparison to hurricanes in Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Rico is owed an estimate of $18 billion in total congressionally approved recovery aide. 

“As opposed to erecting hurdles to recovery, the administration should be clearing a path, righting past wrongs and delivering the support our fellow American citizens so clearly need,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said

Among the letter to Carson’s signees were Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Bernie Sanders, and other party members.

Bad Bunny’s ‘En Casita’ Is The Self-Isolation Anthem You Didn’t Realize You Needed

Entertainment

Bad Bunny’s ‘En Casita’ Is The Self-Isolation Anthem You Didn’t Realize You Needed

badbunnypr / Instagram

Bad Bunny is one musician we all know and love. He uses his platform to speak on issues around the world. Now, Bad Bunny is using his music, and relationship, to give people a song to remind them to stay home and stay safe. We are all in this together no matter how far apart we are.

Bad Bunny and his girlfriend Gabriela are here to help you through your self-isolation.

“En Casita” is literally here to remind you to keep yourself at home. We all might be feeling a little stir crazy and ready to get back out into the world but it is so important to work together to defeat this virus’s spread. Every country is trying to flatten the curve to keep the number of hospitalizations to a minimum and that might be uncomfortable.

People are loving the collab between Bad Bunny and Gabriela.

Not just musically. People on Twitter are loving the real-life collab between the two. Sure, the music is great but seeing the kind of love out little Bad Bunny can have is something we have all been waiting for.

Bad Bunny wants everyone to know that this song was improvised and not planned.

Some people are apparently trying to call bad Bunny out on the song because of its simplicity. However, not everything had to be so complicated if you are trying to make a banger. “En Casita” is the perfect song to let play while you go about your day within your space.

Listen to the full song below and get yourself in the right state of mind.

Stay safe. Stay home. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Let’s work together to move forward together.

READ: From Latin Trap ‘Rude Boy’ To Harvard Speaker: Bad Bunny Was Invited To Give A Talk To Harvard Students

He Was Slow To Address The Crisis, Now Trump Says You Need To Prepare For ‘Painful Two Weeks’

Things That Matter

He Was Slow To Address The Crisis, Now Trump Says You Need To Prepare For ‘Painful Two Weeks’

Win McNamee / Getty

Experts have agreed for weeks that the Trump administration has severely dropped the ball in handling the current Covid-19 health crisis. With one look at the initial lack of a strategy and the current crisis unfolding at hospitals across the United States, many believe that President Trump fumbled the response at the beginning of the outbreak and that’s why the crisis is spiraling out of control in the United States.

But with press conference after press conference, and health professional after health professional – it seems that Trump may finally be understanding just how serious the situation is.

At a somber press conference on Tuesday, Trump warned the country of the ‘painful two weeks’ that lay ahead.

Credit: CDC

In fact, in his own words, Trump warned the U.S. to brace for a “very, very painful two weeks.” This dire warning comes as the White House projected that the Coronavirus pandemic could claim 100,000 to 240,000 lives, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

It was a stark message from the man who spent weeks downplaying the severity of the virus and questioned its potential impact in the United States.

In this press conference, Trump did not minimize what has become the gravest public health crisis in decades. Instead, he advised Americans that darker days are still to come.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” Trump said, setting expectations for a scenario where death rates spike.

Fatalities in the U.S. are forecast to peak in 14 days, when around 2,200 people will be dying daily.

Credit: Pixabay / Daniel Ortega

These shocking projections are even considered to be conservative by many experts. And they’re based on the assumption that the current restrictions are universally adhered to by the public. 

Even as the outbreak begins to fade it will last for months, with scores of people still dying throughout June.

The warning came during a press conference meant to inform the public about the administration’s plan to extend social distancing guidelines.

He was speaking during a White House news conference meant to formally reissue nationwide coronavirus guidelines after Trump — faced with dire models showing hundreds of thousands of potential American deaths, polls indicating support for social distancing and calamitous scenes at New York hospitals — determined another 30 days of social distancing were necessary to avert disaster.

Trump’s dire warning may have at least pushed many more states into taking action to protect their residents.

Credit: @_BlakePitcher / Twitter

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who for weeks has resisted more stringent statewide measures to slow the spread of the virus, on Wednesday ordered the state’s more than 21 million residents to largely stay at home.

DeSantis, a Republican, relented after a morning telephone call with President Trump – just hours after the administration warned of the expected death count.

The governors of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada also announced new plans for stay-at-home orders. A vast majority of Americans — more than 290 million people in 37 states and Washington, D.C.— are now under orders or instructions to stay home, or will be in the coming days.

AOC has also had very harsh criticism for the administration’s handling of the crisis.

AOC’s hometown is experiencing the worst spread of COVID-19 infections than any other city in the U.S. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses the press every morning offering updates on how the virus is spreading through New York state in comparison to the U.S.

“I have several major hospitals in my district from Jacobi Medical Center to Elmhurst Hospital, New York-Presbyterian, and one of the things that we are hearing over and over again from hospitals again is this point on personal protective equipment,” AOC says. “There are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators, [and] hospital beds to get us through this. Many hospitals are already at capacity or are approaching capacity and there is kind of no real stream insight from the federal government on where these materials are coming from.”