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Wed May 1, 2019, 10:36 PM

New Senate GOP offer on disaster aid bill gives $300 million boost to Puerto Rico

Source: Washington Post

New Senate GOP offer on disaster aid bill gives $300 million boost to Puerto Rico

By Erica Werner May 1 at 6:24 PM

Senate Republicans would send $300 million more to Puerto Rico in a new offer aimed at breaking a logjam over a multibillion-dollar disaster relief bill that has stalled for months in a fight over aid to the island.

A key Democrat reacted positively Wednesday, in an optimistic sign for prospects for a deal. But White House officials were still reviewing the proposal, and President Trump, who has resisted sending more money to Puerto Rico, had yet to endorse it.

The proposal from Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) makes several concessions to Democrats’ demands, after months of wrangling over the disaster bill that would send assistance all over the United States and to Puerto Rico as the island continues its recovery from Hurricane Maria.

Most notably, the offer increases spending for Puerto Rico, the issue that has held up the legislation as Trump has opposed Democratic attempts to make it more generous for the U.S. territory. On top of $600 million that was already included for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program, which has been forced to reduce benefits, $300 million would go to the island in the form of Community Development Block Grant assistance.

Additionally, the offer includes language to speed access to a $16 billion pot of CDBG money already appropriated by Congress, of which $8.3 billion would go to Puerto Rico. The remainder would go to Texas and other states.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/new-senate-gop-offer-on-disaster-aid-bill-gives-300-million-boost-to-puerto-rico/2019/05/01/8cf9a6f4-6c40-11e9-8f44-e8d8bb1df986_story.html

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