The Trump administration announced $11.6 billion in aid to Puerto Rico on Friday to help it recover from Hurricane Maria three years ago, as the president’s reelection campaign battles with Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden for Puerto Rican voters in Florida.
It’s the biggest federal emergency aid package in history.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration said its infrastructure grants include $9.6 billion for the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority, the territory’s bankrupt utility, to repair the island’s electric grid. There is also $2 billion to rebuild schools damaged in the September 2017 storm.
The president has accused Puerto Rico’s leaders of corruption in the past and expressed hesitancy to provide more federal funding for the island.
Asked why the aid is coming three years after Hurricane Maria hit the island, the president blamed Democrats in Congress.
“We’ve been working on it for a long time to get it passed. It’s a big package,” he said.
Tropical Storm Isaias also caused widespread flooding on the island in July.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Mr. Trump’s administration “failed Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria made landfall and the people desperately needed help, and throughout the recovery process.”
“Puerto Ricans will not be fooled by his empty promises — the deaths, the suffering, and the struggles Puerto Ricans still face are a constant reminder that Trump talks plenty but does very little,” Mr. Perez said.
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