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Trump administration admits they illegally withheld billions in Puerto Rico disaster relief funds

  1. #1
    Vitamin G African Astronaut
    https://www.dcreport.org/2019/10/24/team-trump-admits-holding-back-billions-for-puerto-rico-disaster-recovery/

    Trump administration officials have admitted that last summer they knowingly withheld billions of dollars Congress appropriated to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. House Democrats say withholding the relief money violates the law.

    Federal law requires that our government help Americans hit by natural disasters. But two Housing and Urban Development officials acknowledged at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Oct. 17 that HUD blocked the Puerto Rico relief funds.

    The HUD delay meant the island missed a deadline to apply for billions of dollars in disaster relief funds, raising doubts about when, if ever, the money will flow to the island devastated in September 2017 by a Category 5 hurricane.

    The federal money is part of a $19 billion supplemental disaster relief bill that Congress passed in June. It came with stipulations requiring HUD to provide funding notices to nine states and two American territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    The agency published the required guidance in the federal register for 9 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Aug. 30, 2019. But HUD intentionally left Puerto Rico out of the notices, the HUD officials admitted.

    Without the required guidance, the island territory could not apply for the disaster money appropriated by Congress. The guidance required the nine states and the U.S. Virgin Islands to submit detailed plans on how each jurisdiction would spend HUD Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program funds.

    Puerto Rico is supposed to be the largest recipient of these funds, with $8.3 billion for large mitigation projects to prepare for future storms and prevent a repeat of the catastrophic devastation from Hurricane Maria.

    In a Sept. 5 letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Representative David Price, a North Carolina Democrat, who chairs the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and Representative Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat who chairs the Appropriations Committee, expressed concerns about delaying the funds.

    “If anything, Puerto Rico should [receive] a special urgency,” Price said. “The delay is not acceptable and it’s certainly not acceptable to single-out Puerto Rico. The president’s rhetoric on this raises a lot of questions about what’s going on here and where this directive is coming from.”

    Even the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami area Republican, criticized HUD’s holding back funds in “this critically important program.”

    Cautiously, Diaz-Balart said, “I’m troubled… and of course, have a special concern” when requirements in Congressional appropriations are not met because it may mean even greater taxpayer costs in the future.

    At the hearing, Irv Dennis, HUD’s chief financial officer, and David Woll, deputy assistant secretary for community planning and development, defended the action.

    They cited talking points that Carson, Trump and others have used in asserting that funds were withheld because of “concerns about misused of funds,” “alleged corruption, fiscal irregularities and Puerto Rico’s capacity to manage the funds” especially after the governor resigned amid protests and a corruption scandal.

    Woll claimed that millions of federal relief dollars had already been wasted and didn’t reach the people of Puerto Rico. He also asserted that officials were concerned after the mass protests that eventually led to the Aug. 2 resignation of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

    Woll also noted that HUD is not a first-line disaster relief agency, as if that were relevant.

    Chairman Price wasn’t buying it.

    “I think you are posing a false choice and … with respect of obeying the law, it shouldn’t be a difficult job, should it,” Price asked during the committee’s hearing Thursday.

    Incredulous at the HUD conduct, Price said, “You had the option of ignoring the law because of alleged troubles in Puerto Rico… that justifies you breaking the law?”

    Trump has a contentious, even contemptuous, relationship with Puerto Rico, often lashing out at local lawmakers on Twitter. He famously tossed rolls of paper towels to people suffering without electricity and drinkable water after Maria passed.

    The slow response from the federal government has been blamed for the death of thousands of people, something Rosselló also denied for months. Trump has refused to accept that 2,975 people died. He also has denied that the federal government relief response was slow.

    Instead, Trump has attacked his critics on Twitter noting that he has “taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever.”

    Trump claims that the island has received $90 billion in Hurricane Maria disaster relief. That’s false. Puerto Rico has only received $14 billion in funds from the $42.8 billion Congress allocated.

    Holding back more than $28 billion in relief money isn’t all Team Trump is doing to hurt the islands more than 3 million residents. Trump is trying to divert $155 million from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help build his border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, an issue expected to be explored in a future Congressional hearing.

    Today a least 30,000 Puerto Rico homes are without roofs two years after the hurricane brought flooding, destroyed the electrical grid and deprived thousands of drinking water and shelter. Many homes now rely on blue tarps stretched overhead to keep rain from falling into their homes.
  2. #2
    Vitamin G African Astronaut
    Republicans don't wanna respond ey?
  3. #3
    Republicans:
  4. #4
    -SpectraL coward [the spuriously bluish-lilac bushman]
    Those officials should all go to prison for a very long time. Nothing to do with the President.
  5. #5
    aldra JIDF Controlled Opposition
    I remember hearing about this and thinking it was shady as fuck at the time
  6. #6
    iam_asiam68 Tuskegee Airman
    good, after feeding the free loaders who we can't get rid of on our actual BORDERS, at least my taxes weren't wasted on other Free Loaders not connected to my BORDERS!!
  7. #7
    iam_asiam68 Tuskegee Airman
    they are a commonwealth, which means, they are always up for the highest bidder.

    we should just sell p. rico!!
  8. #8
    Vitamin G African Astronaut
    Originally posted by -SpectraL Those officials should all go to prison for a very long time. Nothing to do with the President.

    Oh it has everything to do with the president. Trump appointed Carson and signed budget cuts to the HUD. This is just another part of that.

    He also lied about having given them the money and completely made up an amount.

    Such a shame that Trump could treat his own citizens like this just because he's stupid enough to believe its not part of the US.
    The following users say it would be alright if the author of this post didn't die in a fire!
  9. #9
    -SpectraL coward [the spuriously bluish-lilac bushman]
    ^ Some people are so uneducated and stupid that they think the President personally runs all the 15 executive departments and all 400 agencies singlehandedly. The President delegates the authority, he doesn't personally run them.
  10. #10
    mmQ motherfucker
    Originally posted by -SpectraL ^ Some people are so uneducated and stupid that they think the President personally runs all the 15 executive departments and all 400 agencies singlehandedly. The President delegates the authority, he doesn't personally run them.

    So the president shouldn't really get any credit one way or another for anything, right?
    The following users say it would be alright if the author of this post didn't die in a fire!
  11. #11
    -SpectraL coward [the spuriously bluish-lilac bushman]
    Originally posted by mmQ So the president shouldn't really get any credit one way or another for anything, right?

    If he had a hand in it, sure.
  12. #12
    Vitamin G African Astronaut
    Originally posted by -SpectraL ^ Some people are so uneducated and stupid that they think the President personally runs all the 15 executive departments and all 400 agencies singlehandedly. The President delegates the authority, he doesn't personally run them.

    Except in this instance Trump personally has prevented ships from docking by only lifting the Jones Act for 10 days, which meant foreign ships carrying relief supplies were heavily taxed. Lifting it for 10 days made him look good, but it's bad for US corporations, which is why he set a limit on it.

    He also withdrew a US Navy hospital ship.

    Nevermind the lying about actually sending aid.

    He also purposely left out Puerto Rico on the 19 billion 'supplemental bill' to HUD, with the only requirement being that they write a rulebook on how to distribute aid during times of disaster. They had 90 days, and they did not do it, but kept the money. Again, this is after he cut funding to the HUD by 10.25 billion, and after he diverted $155 million from FEMA to pay for an imaginary wall in the middle of the desert.

    He put someone in office who he knew would do his bidding. His intentions are clear by the way he acts. He's treating the US like his own failed businesses, basically acting like a 3rd grade bully in charge of handing out the candy in class. Some, like Russia, will get the peanutbutter cups. Others, like Puerto Rico, get nothing. Ukraine could get some jolly ranchers, but only if they steal some of those apple scented marker's from Joe's desk, despite Joe not actually having any apple scented markers.
  13. #13
    -SpectraL coward [the spuriously bluish-lilac bushman]
    Well, if it were to be proved the Puerto Rico government had already pilfered the first aid dollars to arrive and not a cent of it actually reached the people in distress, that would really be a game-changer, wouldn't it?
  14. #14
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Space Nigga [my scoffingly uncritical tinning]
    White people didn't give their money fast enough to brown people.

    What a horror.

    Of course the various shitty things brown people do to white people don't even count.
  15. #15
    Speedy Parker Space Nigga [my absentmindedly lachrymatory gazania]
    Another OMG Trump is doomed moment brought to you by the hysterical left
    The following users say it would be alright if the author of this post didn't die in a fire!
  16. #16
    -SpectraL coward [the spuriously bluish-lilac bushman]
    Recipients of the aid were required to submit a detailed plan as to how the aid money would be apportioned to those in need. The Puerto Rico government sumbitted their plan, then received billions in aid, but it ended up not a cent of that money reached those in need. They reneged on the appropriations plan they had submitted. Sounds like Puerto Rico needs to get its shit together and stop playing games and stop robbing their own people in need and preventing their aid from reaching them.
  17. #17
    Erekshun African Astronaut
    All of our aid (paid for by the tax payer BTW) should have some strings attached to it. Fuck the leeches! PR is as corrupt as they come so good on the prez.
  18. #18
    -SpectraL coward [the spuriously bluish-lilac bushman]
    One of the sneaky methods of disinformation the dishonest, do-nothing Dems constantly use is they give you just part of the story, but not the whole story. They only give you the parts of the story which satisfy their own personal political narrative, then try to pass it off as the complete information, hoping and praying that most people are too stupid and lazy to actually do their homework and research the thing fully.
  19. #19
    HTS highlight reel
    Imagine being Peurto Rican. Lol.

    >not even a state
  20. #20
    Erekshun African Astronaut
    Originally posted by HTS Imagine being Peurto Rican. Lol.

    >not even a state

    They are a protectorate of the U.S. for good reason but refuse to become a state so they can suck on the tit of the U.S. without paying taxes. Fuck them! Good on Trump.
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