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FEMA actually can stay in Puerto Rico indefinitely

13 October 2017

Disaster costs are expected to run into the tens of billions of dollars.

Trump's remarks come just weeks after Puerto Rico was slammed by Hurricane Maria.

In one out of a series of tweets, Warren said, "It is outrageous that @realDonaldTrump is making veiled threats to withdraw relief workers from USA citizens in need". "He was asking me, 'What do we need to do next?'" Rubio told Reuters.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said it was the federal government's responsibility right now to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, but added he wanted to see the island become more self-sufficient. As Tom Gjelten reported Wednesday night, the island has 78 mayors - and, he added, "They're said to be accustomed to doing their business without interference from above".

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. "Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes", Trump wrote in a series of tweets early Thursday. He said federal responders could not stay in the territory "forever". But the federal relief effort has also hit problems such as reported hoarding by municipal employees, Tom said, citing it as one reason for the "militarization of the aid operation" in Puerto Rico.

Days later, during an October 3 visit to the island, Trump said USA relief efforts in Puerto Rico, bankrupt before the storm, had "thrown our budget a little out of whack" and was filmed casually tossing rolls of paper towels into a crowd at a disaster relief center.

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Hurricane Maria struck September 20. Puerto Rico and its agencies owe more than $70 billion to creditors. "But what's the alternative?" he said.

Rossello said he has asked Trump for an additional US$4.9 billion under the Community Disaster Loan program.

The White House is looking at how to address the long-term needs, including how to rebuild the power grid. He blamed Puerto Rico for its looming financial crisis and "a total lack of accountability".

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"It's not easy when you're used to living in an American way of life, and then somebody tells you that you're going to be without power for six or eight months", said Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, who represents Puerto Rico as a nonvoting member of Congress. "There will be a period in which we hope sooner rather than later, the U.S. military and (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), generally speaking, can withdraw because then the government and people of Puerto Rico are recovering sufficiently to start the process of rebuilding". Puerto Rico's Treasury Secretary Raul Maldonado said last week that the government was poised to run out of money at the end of October, and may have to furlough government employees, a move that would hinder recovery efforts. More than 45 deaths have been attributed to the storm, and 90 percent of the island is without electricity. In the meantime, he said he thinks Congress will find money to help Puerto Rico avert the cliff.

FEMA actually can stay in Puerto Rico indefinitely