Earlier this year, it was reported that Puerto Rico would finally be receiving federal money in efforts to help the island land back on its feet after big hit with two devastating hurricanes. Well, the money has helped somewhat. The Wall Street Journal reported that Puerto Rico’s bonds are “soaring” which means that their financial future is on the upswing, or at least, looking hopeful. The news of their economic gains caused concern with President Trump who is now threatening to stop the money from reaching the island.
Despite being promised money, President Trump now wants to stop sending federal funds to Puerto Rico.
Trump was "furious" over a report that PR bond prices soared after a fiscal plan raised expectations for funding & economic growth. Trump has concluded (without proof) that they are paying off debt with federal disaster money, so he wants to cut them off. https://t.co/06GqB0dxtL
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) November 12, 2018
Congress approved an estimated $16 billion to help Puerto Rico‘s housing, electric grid, and Medicaid. Puerto Rico, however, had asked for a whole lot more. According to the New York Times, Puerto Rico wanted “$17 billion for the power grid alone.”
According to the Axios report, Trump believes that Puerto Rico is somehow using federal funds to pay off their $73 billion debt ($120 billion in bond and pension debt) despite not having any proof to back up those claims. He also allegedly believes that Puerto Rico is mismanaging the money that Congress has already promised them.
A source told Axios that Trump misinterpreted the Wall Street Journal believing that the good report about their bonds somehow meant their debt was decreasing.
Congress will be approving a new budget in December, and according to Axios, it may include sending more money to Puerto Rico. Some may think that the $16 billion, that Puerto Rico is already getting, is way too much. In comparison, during Hurricane Katrina, FEMA got an estimated $60 billion to help people affected by that hurricane in 2005.
People on social media, including San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, say this latest attempt at taking money back from Puerto Rico, is just another sign of Trump’s disdain for the island.
Quiero ver al Gob y Comisionada decirle a Trump que Puerto Rico se respeta. Basta ya del abuso. https://t.co/MjNkCZ5Q8L
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) November 12, 2018
“Today when he should honor the lives sacrificed by thousands Trump once again insults PR. ENOUGH, R.E.S.P.E.C.T!,” Yulín Cruz said on Twitter.
On Oct. 23, the president tweeted: “The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations. The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!”
Yulín Cruz added that Trump has yet to acknowledge the actual number of people killed due to the hurricanes.
It is unconscionable that President Trump reportedly wants to end federal disaster funding for Puerto Rico as it continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. In New York, we proudly stand with Puerto Rico as we always have before. pic.twitter.com/aVpFRup9ga
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 12, 2018
The president has always doubted the number of dead that was released by George Washington University. In August, the school said almost 3,000 people died due to the hurricanes, but Trump still says that didn’t happen.
On Oct. 23, he tweeted: “This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”