Aftermath of Trump’s Puerto Rico tweets includes outrage, more funds for territory

by | May 11, 2017 | Congress | Comments

President Trump recently made statements on Twitter involving Puerto Rico, claiming that Democrats were using Puerto Rico to create a government shutdown, and that the territory wants a “bailout.” Officials within the Puerto Rican government were not happy with the tweets, and responded in kind. Governor Rosselló was among this number, responding that The American citizens of Puerto Rico deserve to be treated fairly. Health and civil rights are not partisan issues.” Other officials echoed the statement, saying that they were only asking for equal treatment, not a bailout or anything like that.

On May 3, the US House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, or the “omnibus budget bill,” which included $296 million dollars for Medicaid, and $750,000 for the Cano Martín Peña project, among other allocations. Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón made the comment that the allocations would help address, “if only partially,” the fiscal Medicaid cliff the territory faces.

A press release from the US House stated that the in addition to the Medicaid and Cano Martin Pena Project funding, there will also be funding of $281,000 for the “Army Corps of Engineers… for inspection of completed projects, $2.3 million for the San Juan Bay Estuary Project, and $1.46 million for improvement of the San Juan Harbor shipping channel; as well as funding for coastal security under Operation Stonegarden for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and an additional $2 million in NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) Grants for training, development and education in food and agricultural sciences in the territories, with a focus on distance education.”

The bill passed the house on a vote of 309 to 118, and then through the US Senate on May 4, with a vote of 79 to 18. It was then sent to President Trump, who made good on his promise to sign it on May 5.