Feds to pay for Puerto Rico’s emergency response

People wait in line for gas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. The U.S. ramped up its response Monday to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico while the Trump administration sought to blunt criticism that its response to Hurricane Maria has fallen short of it efforts in Texas and Florida after the recent hurricanes there. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – According to President Trump, the federal government will pick up 100 percent of the costs of debris removal and other emergency assistance to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Trump made the change Tuesday as part of an amendment to his earlier disaster declaration authorizing federal aid.

U.S. states and territories typically cover 25 percent of the costs, with the federal government paying the remaining 75 percent.

But the island’s government is so strapped for cash that Puerto Rican officials and sympathetic members of Congress had called on Trump to waive the cost-sharing requirement.

Trump’s declaration covers the removal of downed trees, utility poles and other debris, as well as spending for emergency measures to protect lives and public health and safety.

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