Nutritional assistance in Puerto Rico in desperate need of funds

by | Feb 19, 2019 | Puerto Rico | Comments

More than one million Puerto Ricans may receive large cuts to their food aid if the United States government does not provide more funding to the territory’s nutritional program within the next month.

Research conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities revealed that roughly 1.4 million Puerto Ricans registered with the Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico program (NAP) would lose a substantial amount of funds for food with around 100,000 citizens being cut from the program altogether.

One such example given by the research showed that a family of four would have their government funded aid dropped from $610 every month to $410. The program is upheld through a subsidy of $2 billion every year with an additional $1.27 billion being assigned by Congress  in 2017 after hurricanes Irma and Maria.

However, these funds are rapidly running out and the program is expected to begin making cuts next March. The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló (NPP, D), sent a request to Congress last November asking for an additional $600 million in order to maintain NAP for half a year.

Although it was initially met with approval from the House of Representatives and supported Senate, the Trump Administration ultimately denied the request. The Senate has also created their own disaster aid package but this proposition does not include Rosselló’s request of $600 million for food aid so even if it is accepted, Puerto Rico will not receive any additional funds.

However, Florida Senator Rick Scott (R), who backed the islands’ initial request for aid, is trying to make an amendment to the Senate’s package that includes the extra funds. According to a letter Rosselló directed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), if nothing is done to maintain NAP, the monthly aid to the American territory will provide lower financial assistance than what can be acquired in the states.