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'Shortchanged': Connecticut Officials Call Out Trump Administration On Puerto Rican Disaster Relief

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Frankie Graziano
/
Connecticut Public Radio
State Rep. Geraldo Reyes (D-Waterbury) said Monday, April 1 that people like his sister could use help. She lives on the island. Nineteen months after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Reyes said she still has power outages, water shortages.

Connecticut lawmakers want Congress to send more disaster relief dollars to Puerto Rico.

It follows a recent report that President Donald Trump has told Senate Republicans that he doesn’t want to funnel any more money into fixing the island’s infrastructure.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and even though time has passed, residents still face many challenges.

State Representative Geraldo Reyes said he’s seen it firsthand and so has his sister, who lives on the island.

“Nineteen months after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, they still have intermittent water shortages and intermittent power,” Reyes said. “To have the president of these United States actually shortchange the people of Puerto Rico, who are American citizens, and treat them less than -- to say it’s disheartening is putting it mildly.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal said that Senate Democrats and members of the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to help, but Senate Republicans are actively thwarting a proposal that would involve around $450 million in new money to support the island’s infrastructure.

“The administration has consistently and constantly shortchanged Puerto Rico in disaster relief,” Blumenthal said. “Last week, the president said the administration has done too much – he said way out of proportion -- for Puerto Rico. The fact is it has done way less than it should and that other states have received.”

Blumenthal said that he and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are working on a separate proposal that would provide billions of dollars in aid to Puerto Rico.

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