Trump Warns Puerto Rico Weeks After Storms: Federal Help Cannot Stay 'Forever'

Big Tech has big plans to help reconnect Puerto Rico- Puerto Rico Tech Assistance

Keep in mind, more than 80% of the island still doesn't have electricity and many don't have cell service or access to clean water.

Puerto Rico has been reeling since Hurricane Maria struck three weeks ago, leaving death and destruction in an unparalleled humanitarian crisis.

Photo Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan of the Army, the commander of Joint Task Force Puerto Rico, and soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard unloaded critical supplies in Jayuya, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday.

Others, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Puerto Rican mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, also pleaded with Trump to not abandon the island, home to 3.4 million USA citizens.

Quoting former CBS News reporter Sheryl Attkisson and Puerto Rico's governor in a tweet, Trump said the territory's "electric and infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes" and passed the buck to Congress to "decide how much to spend".

But Trump's tweets on Thursday raised questions about whether the USA resolve.

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He continued in a third tweet: "We can not keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been wonderful (under the most hard circumstances) in P.R. forever!" It knocked out electricity to the whole island and caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure.

Rosselló warned congressional leaders over the weekend that the USA territory is "on the brink of a massive liquidity crisis that will intensify in the immediate future".

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled (Puerto Rico v. Franklin) that the territory and its municipalities could not declare bankruptcy unlike states of the union, so a financial austerity plan was imposed under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act of 2016 (PROMESA) which created a board to oversee fiscal restructuring in Puerto Rico. He blamed Puerto Rico for its looming financial crisis and "a total lack of accountability". The pragmatic solution is to grant Puerto Rico statehood and funnel investment into the island so that its people can benefit from the contributions that they have made to the USA for over a century. But it is Trump's tone toward Puerto Rico that has drawn the most criticism.

Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), said that those who live on the island "are American citizens and they deserve the federal assistance they need to recover and rebuild". For now, it ignores huge demands from the powerful Florida and Texas delegations, which together pressed for some $40 billion more.

Up to $5 billion of the FEMA money could be used to help local governments remain functional as they endure unsustainable cash shortfalls in the aftermath of Maria, which has choked off revenues and strained resources.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the government needs to ensure that - in his words - "Puerto Rico can begin to stand on its own two feet".

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