House to pass $3.4B disaster aid package for Puerto Rico

By Caitlin Emma

The House is expected to pass a $3.4 billion disaster relief package for Puerto Rico by month’s end to help the territory recover from a series of recent earthquakes, a Democratic aide told POLITICO.

House Democrats released the text and a summary of the bill this afternoon. It will include $100 million for education, $1.25 billion for highways and $2 billion in community development money the Department of Housing and Urban Development distributes through grants to aid recovery, the aide said.

The additional assistance comes after POLITICO reported on Wednesday that the Trump administration plans to release more than $8 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico amid criticism from lawmakers.

HUD has held up the funding for months, blowing past a September legal deadline while the agency pursued financial safeguards in light of political unrest on the island. Puerto Rico has received just $1.5 billion of the roughly $20 billion Congress appropriated last summer in disaster funds HUD is supposed to distribute to the territory.