President Trump is furious as Democrats in the Senate stalled a bill which would have provided additional relief to Puerto Rico as it continues to rebuild after Hurricane Maria.
The fate of the vote had been in limbo for several days and the president even visited with members on Capitol Hill last week to help coax some worries.
The bill ultimately failed 44-47, ABC News reports, as Democrats wanted more money added to the bill:
Aid for disaster-ravaged U.S. states and territories stalled in the Senate Monday as the president, backed by Republicans, and Senate Democrats remain locked in a fight over aid to Puerto Rico, hit hard by hurricanes in 2017 and currently out of money for crucial nutrition programs.
Senators voted down a key procedural motion, 44-47, amidst the partisan feud, with no clear strategy ahead for how to pass legislation needed in order to begin negotiations with the House, which passed its own $14.7 billion disaster funding bill in January that contains more aid for Puerto Rico.
In his closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, the president brought along a chart to show lawmakers – according to three senators in the room. The chart, according to the members, showed some $91 billion in federal funding for Puerto Rico verses a little over $29 billion for Texas, both hit hard by storms, with the president telling Republicans that the island nation had handled the funding poorly.
Trump, afterward, echoed that sentiment to reporters, saying, “They don’t know how to spend the money, and they’re not spending it wisely.”
Democrats have said they want to see the money already appropriated to Puerto Rico released by the federal government, while adding more than $430 million in assistance to the current funding effort. Republicans maintained that Puerto Rico was not spending the money it had been given.
President Trump expressed his frustrations on Twitter after the failed effort, reiterating that local Puerto Rico governmental officials were not spending their funds to alleviate the needs of their residents.
“The Democrats today killed a Bill that would have provided great relief to Farmers and yet more money to Puerto Rico despite the fact that Puerto Rico has already been scheduled to receive more hurricane relief funding than any ‘place’ in history.”
“The people of Puerto Rico are GREAT, but the politicians are incompetent or corrupt. Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right, the place is a mess – nothing works.”
“FEMA & the Military worked emergency miracles, but politicians like the crazed and incompetent Mayor of San Juan have done such a poor job of bringing the Island back to health. 91 Billion Dollars to Puerto Rico, and now the Dems want to give them more, taking dollars away from our Farmers and so many others. Disgraceful!”
“Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before, & all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent, spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from USA.”
“The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump. So many wonderful people, but with such bad Island leadership and with so much money wasted. Cannot continue to hurt our Farmers and States with these massive payments, and so little appreciation!”