Puerto Rico relief bill helps everyone but Puerto Ricans
According to The Intercept, the Puerto Rico Relief Bill includes five billion dollars in a loan, which ensures that Puerto Rico is still cash-strapped after the bill is signed by President Trump. The House Appropriations Committee approved bill includes money earmarked for wildfire suppression and management, FEMA (which splits 18.67 billion between efforts in Texas, Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico) and the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security gets 10 million of that 18.6 million to investigate claims.
Puerto Rican officials estimate that even with this bill, the government might have to shut down on October 31st because it is running out of money. Compounding these issues, the island’s poor credit rating makes it difficult to secure funds. After the bill, Puerto Rico will be saddled with around five billion dollars in loans with essentially no way to repay them.
Criticisms of the bill commonly note that instead of alleviating Puerto Rico’s debts it creates more debt, and critics argue that those loans should be turned into grants if America truly wanted to help Puerto Ricans who are also American citizens. Those criticisms are valid and need to be heard by the administration and House Appropriations Committee if they truly wish to help Puerto Rico and the citizens who live there.