Puerto Rico gov sends video to Trump: You’re ill-informed
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resorted to social media Thursday to send President Donald Trump a video message, requesting they meet personally and saying he was getting inaccurate information.
Following the U.S. House of Representatives’ approval Wednesday of two amendments to H.R. 268, a supplemental spending bill that appropriates additional funding for disaster assistance, Trump’s administration said it has concerns with the legislation.
H.R. 268 included $600 million in funding for the Nutrition Assistance Program for Puerto Rico, the amount requested by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló “to ensure residents of the island continue receiving vital nutrition assistance,” according to a release by the office of Nydia Velázquez, who authored the amendments.
However, an administration policy statement published by the White House on Thursday calls the $600 million “excessive and unnecessary funding for Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program” that it the administration “has not requested, that is well in excess of the levels included in the disaster bill that passed in December of last year.”
Velázquez’s amendment would also appropriate $25 million for dredging the Martín Peña Channel in San Juan, which is clogged.
The Office of Management and Budget said that if H.R. 268 “were presented to the President with a continuing resolution included, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the policy statement reads.
“Today I would like to send a message to the president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, addressing some troubling information that has been in the national public discussion and that has been included in the President’s Statement of Administration Policy, falsely alleging that Puerto Rico is not in need of any additional recovery funds from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, including money for the Nutritional Assistance Program,” Rosselló said.
“The Government of Puerto Rico has complied with every single requirement imposed on us in order to receive these funds,” he stressed, adding, “We have had to overcome incorrect preconceived notions and had to comply with additional and burdensome requirements that were required of no other jurisdiction.”
Puerto Rico’s member of Congress, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, also issued a statement blasting OMB’s assessment, saying that calling the allocation, which “has broad, bipartisan support in Congress – as ‘excessive and unnecessary’ is mistaken and a disservice to the 3.2 million Americans on the Island.”
The governor further said: “There is a patent, severe lack of knowledge regarding the inequalities sustained by the US citizens of Puerto Rico and of the use of recovery funding in all the reports that have been attributed to your Administration.
“Mr. President, all recent reports confirm that your Administration is working towards eliminating recovery dollars for Puerto Rico based on these completely false and inaccurate preconceived notions.
“Mr. President, according to this, you are getting the incorrect advice. Puerto Rico has the highest poverty rate, lowest labor participation, highest inequality index anywhere in the nation, and it stems from perennial inequality of Puerto Rico as a colonial territory and inconsolable remarks about taking funding away from vulnerable US citizens only exposes that these thoughts and policies still exist.
“I am making a public request to you, Mr. President, to meet with me so I can correct the ill-informed advice and disconcerting notions you are getting on Puerto Rico, particularly on the NAP program which provides much needed nutritional assistance to over 1 million US citizens living in Puerto Rico and the use of the recovery funds for payment on the Island’s debt, which is completely false.
“The US citizens from Puerto Rico, and around the Nation, await for your response.”