House Democrats unveil $3.35B Puerto Rico aid bill
House Democrats on Thursday unveiled a $3.35 billion emergency supplemental spending bill for Puerto Rico, aimed at funding schools and repairing transportation infrastructure.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration ended a hold on $8 billion in Puerto Rico disaster relief that had been held up for months, despite ongoing recovery needs following devastating hurricanes in 2017.
“The Trump administration has finally showed signs of relenting in its attempts to illegally withhold vital aid to Puerto Rico, and must provide the rest of the assistance this Congress has already enacted for the island,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
“However, there are still urgent unmet needs on the island that necessitate additional relief,” she added.
Recent earthquakes, in particular, forced people from their homes, leveled schools and damaged roads, she said.
The largest part of the supplemental spending bill, $2 billion, will go through the Community Development Block Grant, which would allow Puerto Rico to spend money on long-term recovery, housing and economic revitalization.
Another $1.25 billion would go toward repairing roads, while a final $100 million would go toward educational needs.
While the House could move on the legislation fairly quickly, the Senate will spend the next several weeks on President Trump’s impeachment trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday. It remains unclear if the Senate will take up the disaster bill.
Supplemental spending bills are frequently packaged with other must-pass legislation.
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