President Trump reportedly wants to end federal relief aid to millions of Americans in Puerto Rico still recovering from the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria, claiming without evidence that the money is being misused and mismanaged, reports Axios.
The President has told GOP leaders and appropriators that the Puerto Rican government is using the disaster relief funds to pay off debt rather than help its citizens rebuild, according to Axios.
Trump also said he wants to roll back some of the funding Congress has already set aside for Hurricane Maria relief, which he cannot do.
The Hill adds:
The president’s reluctance to provide funding stems in part from a misreading of a Wall Street Journal article, Axios reported. The Journal article from October reportedly led him to believe the Puerto Rican government has been using disaster relief money to pay off its debt, though that is not the conclusion of the piece.
Trump’s remarks leave in doubt whether he will sign a future spending bill that includes money for Puerto Rico.
Trump was initially reluctant to send aid to the devastated U.S. territory and has continually complained about having to do so since.
“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,” he tweeted in late October. “The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!”