Schumer blasts Trump over Puerto Rico aid

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE over funding for Puerto Rico on Monday, arguing the administration was slow-walking aid. 

“Puerto Rico has NOT gotten $91B in recovery aid. Just last week, your administration missed its deadline to release more than $8B in funds for Puerto Rico,” Schumer said in a tweet.


He added that “Democrats believe in meeting the needs of all disaster survivors.”

Schumer’s tweet comes after Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump launches effort to boost support among black voters Zoning is not the answer to all our housing problems Freer housing is 'fairer housing' — HUD should tie funding to looser zoning MORE, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), told lawmakers that regulations for roughly $8 billion in disaster funding would be released by May 1. Finalization of the regulations are needed before the money, which is part of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program, can be released. 

A senior Senate Democratic aide told The Hill last week that Democratic staff had been told by HUD that they were ready to begin advancing the funding but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested to first “review” the regulations.

“This comes despite the fact that OMB has been a part of HUD’s work in this effort from the beginning. When asked how long OMB’s review would take, HUD was noncommittal and said that it is up to OMB and ‘out of their control,’” the aide added.

The hold up on the funding comes as members of the Senate Appropriations Committee are trying to reach a deal that could break the weeks-long stalemate over the chamber’s disaster aid bill.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyLawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule MORE (R-Ala.) has been meeting with Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (D-Vt.) and said late last week that talks were “trending” in a positive direction.  

The disaster aid package fell apart in the Senate last month after Trump criticized Puerto Rico’s handling of previous disaster aid money during a closed-door meeting with GOP senators.

The GOP proposal included $600 million for food stamp aid in Puerto Rico. Democrats wanted to amend it to include additional provisions, like requiring HUD to release block grant funding and adding money to help Puerto Rico repair damaged water systems.