Politics Democrats Try to Keep Puerto Rico's Disaster on the Radar in Washington

00:13  03 november  2017
00:13  03 november  2017 Source:   Rolling Stone

Ex Puerto Rico Gov. slams Trump's high marks on relief efforts

  Ex Puerto Rico Gov. slams Trump's high marks on relief efforts A picture's worth a thousand words. Former Governor of Puerto Rico Alejandro García Padilla took a jab at Donald Trump on Twitter following comments the president made about the United States' relief efforts on the island. Padilla questioned Trump's idea of a "10," noting that the group of surgeons pictured are operating on a patient using only light from cellphones and flashlights more than one month after Hurricane Maria hit. It's unclear where the photo, which has been widely circulated on Twitter, originated from. In addition to retweeting the image, a number of Twitter users quote tweeted Padilla and shared their own outrage over the lack of aide Puerto Rico's received in the weeks since the hurricane. Many were quick to point out that about 28% of the island is still without running water. Nearly 90% of the island is without electricity. Trump, often quick to respond to critics on Twitter, has yet to take aim at Padilla. On Oct. 19, however, he gave himself a hearty pat on the back for his handling of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. "I would give myself a 10," he said. "I think we've done a really great job and we've had tremendous cooperation from the governor and we are getting there and people are really seeing the effort that's been put into Puerto Rico." A week prior, Trump tweeted that Washington couldn't continue to aid Puerto Rico "forever." Around the same time, Gov.

Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz speaks in Washington Wednesday. Democrats are trying to keep the disaster on the radar , given that the president seems to have moved on from the issue, and say the federal government needs to learn from all of its mistakes so far.

Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz speaks in Washington Wednesday. Democrats are trying to keep the disaster on the radar , given that the president seems to have moved on from the issue, and say the federal government needs to learn from all of its mistakes so far.

Carmen Yulin Cruz et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: carmen yulin cruz washington dc © Mark Wilson/Getty Images carmen yulin cruz washington dc

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz was in Washington this week, though you'd hardly know it. Cruz was scheduled Wednesday to testify alongside FEMA Administrator Brock Long in front of the House Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on the federal government's response to Hurricane Maria, but that hearing was abruptly canceled.

"The story is not a good-news story. It is a life-and-death story. Survival cannot be our new way of life," Cruz told the press corps after a closed-door meeting with House Democrats. "While the American people have had a big heart, President Trump has had a big mouth, and he has used it to insult the people of Puerto Rico."

Congress approves $36.5 billion disaster aid for Puerto Rico, wildfires and hurricane relief

  Congress approves $36.5 billion disaster aid for Puerto Rico, wildfires and hurricane relief Congress gave final passage Tuesday to $36.5 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico and several states impacted by a particularly destructive hurricane season. WASHINGTON - Congress gave final passage Tuesday to $36.5 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico and several states impacted by a particularly destructive hurricane season.

On Our Radar . Refresh Close. His broadsides triggered an outcry from Democrats in Washington and officials on the island The debate played out as the House passed, on a sweeping 353-69 vote, a .5 billion disaster aid package that includes assistance for Puerto Rico ' s financially-strapped

An island colony of the United States, Puerto Rico is easily accessible, friendly, and largely English speaking. With miles of sparkling shore in the Caribbean Sea, most of Puerto Rico ' s visitors spend their vacation laying on the beach and frolicking in the water.

Cruz didn't request a meeting with Trump while in Washington, noting she's still angry at the president for using his visit to the hurricane-ravaged territory as a photo op, rather than an effort to learn about the plight of his fellow American citizens.

"When we had the opportunity to meet [in Puerto Rico], it was evident that he was more interested in saying what a good job his administration was doing rather than understanding what the true plea of the Puerto Rican people was," Cruz tells Rolling Stone. "He chose to be in a confined area and throw paper towels at people rather than to go to places [that] really need [aid]."

As for why Cruz's hearing was canceled, Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul says Republicans didn't have enough time to adequately prepare for her testimony. When pressed on the matter, and asked if the cancellation was also related to Cruz standing up to Trump and speaking out about the federal government's response to the disaster, McCaul laughs. "She's been vocal," he tells Rolling Stone. "FEMA is really there to provide assistance, not the full operational response efforts. ... [Puerto Ricans] have to lean on state and local [officials] and how good they are."

Trump signs $36.5 billion emergency aid bill for disasters

  Trump signs $36.5 billion emergency aid bill for disasters Trump signs $36.5 billion emergency aid bill to refill disaster accounts, help Puerto Rico and flood insurance.The president signed the bill Thursday after the Senate sent him the measure earlier this week to help Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico after a devastating string of hurricanes.

Trump' s threats to limit the emergency worker footprint in Puerto Rico come as the House is set to vote Thursday on a .5 billion disaster aid package that includes Top Democrats assailed Trump for his Thursday tweets on Puerto Rico . Subscribe to The Washington Post. Try 1 month for .

blog 'lauradolittle.blogdetik.com' is not exists. Erasing Your Criminal Background Legally: Puerto Rico Edition eBook.

Democrats on the Hill Wednesday defended Cruz against allegations that she politicized the relief efforts by sparring with the president.

"When there's no coordinated effort then obviously she has to sound the alarm bells. ... I don't think that sounding the alarm bells on behalf of your citizens who are dying and being treated differently is politicizing it," Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson tells Rolling Stone. "If it's not racism, it's abject incompetence."

More than 40 days after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island territory, around 67 percent of Puerto Ricans still don't have power, while roughly 20 percent still struggle to find clean drinking water.

Congress has already allocated $52 billion for the plethora of natural disasters that have pummeled the nation this year, and many tens of billions of dollars more will be needed. But Puerto Rican officials say money isn't the only thing they need: They also say bureaucratic red tape and plain incompetence is hampering their efforts.

Puerto Rico sees an opportunity to reimagine the island

  Puerto Rico sees an opportunity to reimagine the island Puerto Rico's secretary for economic development tells CNNMoney that the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria represents an opportunity for the island to completely rebuild its infrastructure. Then the storm devastated the island's transportation and communication networks. President Trump says "broken infrastructure" was to blame for any delayed response by the federal government. Seven in 10 Puerto Ricans still have no power.

This makes Puerto Rico ’ s representation in Congress identical to Washington , D.C.’s, though Washington ’s legal status is different. After the vote, Governor Rosselló, a Democrat , chose two senators and five representatives — the numbers Puerto Rico would have based on its population —.

“Essentially, everything Puerto Rico has asked for up to and including today we’ve tried to align with and lean as far forward as we can,” Witham said. Arelis R. Hernández in San Juan and Joel Achenbach and Sandhya Somashekhar in Washington contributed to this report.

"None of these federal agencies speak to themselves or share information with one another, so that is a problem that needs to be dealt with that goes beyond Puerto Rico," Cruz said Wednesday.

While the official Maria-related death toll in Puerto Rico only stands at 54, Puerto Rican officials report there have been at least 911 cremations since the storm, which are being recorded by many hospitals and local officials as deaths attributed to natural causes.

That's "an outstanding figure – much higher than we've ever seen before" after similar disasters, Cruz said, noting that there needs to be more of an investigation into why disabled and elderly individuals, in particular, are dying at such a rapid pace. Such deaths are being recorded officially as "natural," but Cruz said, "it is a natural cause of death, but it is attached to the fact that you have no energy and no access to oxygen or your ventilator" because of hurricane damage.

The Trump administration came under fire last month after it came to light that Whitefish Energy Holdings, a small Montana company based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, won a $300 million, no-bid contract in Puerto Rico, which the territory canceled this week. The administration denies approving the contract.

Puerto Rico governor to tour Superstorm Sandy sites in NY

  Puerto Rico governor to tour Superstorm Sandy sites in NY The governor of Puerto Rico traveled to New York Thursday to see how the state rebuilt following Superstorm Sandy and meet with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to discuss his island's recovery from Hurricane Maria.Gov. Ricardo Rossello joined Cuomo for an aerial tour of sites on Long Island impacted by the 2012 storm that were rebuilt to be more resilient to flooding. The two men then discussed additional ways New York can help the U.S. territory, and Cuomo announced the deployment of additional utility workers to assist in restoring electricity.Rossello said he hopes Puerto Rico emerges from Maria as well as New York did after Sandy.

President Trump warned that Puerto Rico will soon need to start helping itself. He tweeted that the federal government cannot keep FEMA employees and first responders on the More Washington Examiner. 2 hours ago. Trump tries to pin the blame for Obamacare premium hikes on Democrats .

His broadsides triggered an outcry from Democrats in Washington and officials on the island, which has been reeling The debate played out as the House passed, on a sweeping 353-69 vote, a .5 billion disaster aid package that includes assistance for Puerto Rico ' s financially-strapped government.

"No lawyer inside FEMA would ever have agreed to some of the language in that contract," FEMA Administrator Long testified before a Senate panel this week.

But the Whitefish scandal has only added to the feeling among many that the administration is bumbling the federal response to this disaster. While Trump has tried to paint that response in rosy colors, the members of Congress who have visited Puerto Rico or been briefed on the situation there note that the picture on the ground is dire – something they say Trump would know if he cared to be fully briefed on the disaster.

"I don't think he cares. I just don't think he cares," says Democratic Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who is of Puerto Rican descent. "So you have to put Trump in the 'I don't give a shit about the people of Puerto Rico' column. But you know what? There's a whole lot of other people that he [doesn't care about]. ... I don't want to make it sound like we're in an exclusive grouping."

Democrats are trying to keep the disaster on the radar, given that the president seems to have moved on from the issue, and say the federal government needs to learn from all of its mistakes so far.

"It is clear that when all is said and done that Puerto Rico will become a case study for everything that can go wrong and does go wrong when the American government needs to intervene and the American people need them most," Gutierrez says.

puerto rico hurricane damage: Hurricane damage in Mayaquez, Puerto Rico. © David Villafane/AP Hurricane damage in Mayaquez, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Needs a 'Just' Recovery, Say Groups .
Organizations rallied in Miami for a "just recovery' for Puerto Rico including a focus on environmental and sustainability issues and a call to repeal the Jones Act.MIAMI -- Organizations including Climate Justice Alliance, Greenpeace and others are shining a spotlight on the need for Puerto Rico to have what they call a "just recovery," during a press conference in Miami Friday afternoon. It's part of a national campaign called #Our Power Puerto Rico: Art for Climate Justice.

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