Ryan pledges aid for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico

Ryan pledges aid for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico
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Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE (R-Wis.) said Congress is working with the Trump administration on humanitarian aid for Puerto Rico in the wake of devastating damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Ryan said in a statement Monday that lawmakers are working with the White House “to ensure necessary resources get to the U.S. territory,” where island-wide power outages and widespread damage have imperiled more than 3 million U.S. citizens.

“The stories and images coming out of Puerto Rico are devastating,” Ryan said. “Our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico remain in our prayers as we make sure they have what they need.”

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Puerto Rico is expected to be without power for months while government officials struggle to address food and fuel shortages across the territory. The island had already been reeling from a debt crisis that froze swaths of the Puerto Rican financial system and led to severe cuts to critical state health care, social services and education.

Puerto Ricans have fled to the mainland as the territory’s economy falters under the weight of its financial burdens, which will grow deeper during the storm recovery.

The destruction in Puerto Rico is one of several post-storm crises on Congress’s tab. Lawmakers still plan to advance several aid funding packages for communities across Texas and the Southeast ravaged by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Congress will also need to increase the National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority beyond its $30 billion cap so the agency can pay out flood insurance claims. The swelling NFIP debt comes as conservative lawmakers seek major changes to the program meant to gear more flood insurance policies toward the private markets.