FEMA was instituted in 1978 by “Executive Order” during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. As of 2018, FEMA’s entire annual budget was $18.4 billion.
The House has approved $19.1 billion in disaster relief to Puerto Rico despite Trump’s objections. Total damage from the two hurricanes that devastated the territory was estimated to be $50-$90 billion, which is a) a rather large discrepancy in estimates, and b) relatively close to its entire nominal GDP of $104 billion.
As a Commonwealth territory, it does not enjoy the full privileges extended to states although as a territory they are entitled to Disaster Relief funding. They have their own Constitution and their own House of Representatives. Historically, they have repeatedly voted against statehood and as recent as 2011 were designated an Independent Nation by the UN. In 2012, the Puerto Rico government held two votes regarding their status and the majority voted for statehood. In 2012, President Obama said he would work on that – but nothing has been done and their status remains Commonwealth territory.
In addition to FEMA funding, Puerto Rico enjoys $21 billion in annual aid from the US.
In 2017, FEMA agreed to $464 million relief, and Trump agreed to $4.9 billion in loans. Trump’s disaster relief priorities are for US states which have their own flooding, tornado, and cyclone issues, including the Nebraska Airforce base that desperately needs $450 million given historic flooding this past March, and Hurricane Harvey which is stated to have caused $180 billion in damage..
In 2017, the cost of disasters affecting the US totaled $300 billion. When there is not enough money to go around, Congress asks for ‘supplemental appropriations’. Obviously the $18 billion budget fell far short of the $300 billion tab. Frequently that means relief will be over a term of years with private donations pitched for assistance.
While Hurricane Harvey was estimated to cause roughly $180 billion in damage, FEMA approved $5 billion for Texas after a comprehensive state plan of action was submitted. This is fairly normal, given the Federal government rarely, if ever, pays for the entire estimated damage of any disaster.
Puerto Rico has NOT submitted a plan because apparently their government believes it is simply too ‘time-consuming’ – according to NBC News.
It would seem that the Puerto Rico government feels entitled to a check in the FULL amount immediately payable, with no plan for distribution, to spend as they wish, at US taxpayers expense despite the fact that Puerto Ricans do NOT even pay US Federal Income Tax. And they are ANGRY they haven’t gotten those funds.
Shiploads of aid reached Puerto Rico within a week, thousands of containers of food, supplies and fuel. Aircrafts began descending with aid as airports were reopened. NGO’s and private donations were also lucrative and generous. But in 2018, warehouses of rotting food and rat infested crates were discovered because the government failed to make distributions, instead claiming Trump was to blame for not doing – enough.
FEMA had just been deployed to mediate the disaster of Hurricane Harvey that wiped out parts of Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee when weeks later Maria hit Puerto Rico. Getting aid over land to Texas was significantly easier than shipping aid in the middle of a catastrophic storm – to Puerto Rico. Still hundreds of cargo ships managed to arrive within a week. But Puerto Rico’s truckers were not available to unload the crates and so the aid sat… and sat, for over a year.
Rosello, the elected Puerto Rico governor recently said, “If the bully (Trump) gets close, I’ll punch the bully in the mouth.”
That is a threat of violent action against the President of the United States. The Governor should be arrested and jailed for threatening bodily harm to our President! It is reminiscent of California’s Governor Brown whining, threatening, and then demanding money despite failing to meet Federal Laws regarding ICE and illegal immigrants.
Why is Rossello calling Trump a bully? Because he wants more money. San Juan mayor, Carmen Cruz who has announced her intention to run against Rossello in 2020, was unbelievably vicious, insulting, threatening and vindictive at the time of the disaster. She continually made false statements and claims while refusing to explain the warehouse corruption or the fact that the aid was there but distribution was not. She is aligned with US Liberal Democrats in their belief that boundaries of political accord do not exist any longer. I imagine she has aspirations of Hollywood, a book deal, and a Soros alliance.
In 2018, the FBI raided Carmen Cruz’ mayoral office over improprieties, corruption and fraud in business dealings. Two officials were indicted. A further FBI investigation into the Puerto Rico governor’s office led to indictments against four politicians and a judge for corruption and undue influence.
This non-US state, with Commonwealth status, an economy that continues to require unrelenting Federal aid just to sustain itself, is a welfare product that has failed miserably to apply any measures to teach its citizens how to fish. Instead, it continues to demand more and more fish be given to them because they are entitled and deserve their fair share…
If it sounds like a Bernie, uses money like a Bernie, and whines for more like a Bernie, chances are – it’s a Bernie Socialist Nation and needs to be Independent. Personally, I would give my money to viable states that are a part of our United States.