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Trump Puts Severe Restrictions on Long-Delayed Puerto Rico Disaster Aid

“Days after the island was hit by a 5.9-magnitude earthquake, the White House released billions in aid but placed limits on how it can be spent.”

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration imposed severe restrictions on Wednesday on billions of dollars in emergency relief to Puerto Rico, including blocking spending on the island’s electrical grid and suspending its $15-an-hour minimum wage for federally funded relief work.

The nearly $16 billion in funding, released while Puerto Ricans still sleep on the streets for fear of aftershocks from last week’s earthquake, is part of $20 billion that Congress allocated for disaster recovery and preparation more than a year ago, in response to the commonwealth being hit by back-to-back hurricanes in 2017.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development had released only $1.5 billion of the congressional relief, citing concerns about political corruption. Of that, only $5 million has been spent.”

Lola Fadulu and Mark Walker report for the New York Times January 15, 2020.