>> President Donald Trump, on Thursday, warning storm relief for Puerto Rico will not be not be open-ended, just as Congress is set to vote on a new aid package for the US territory ravaged by Hurricane Maria. In a series of early morning tweets, Trump saying we cannot keep FEMA, the Military and the First Responders, who have been amazing, under the most difficult Difficult circumstances, in PR forever!
Trump added it was up to Congress to decide how much to spend on the island, but he called out Puerto Rico for its outstanding debt. Citing a quote, total lack of accountability, adding quote, electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, addressing the question at the briefing, Thursday.
>> There will be a period in which we hope, sooner rather than later, to where the US military and FEMA, generally speaking, can withdraw because then the government and the people of Puerto Rico are recovering sufficiently to start the process of rebuilding. Our country will stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done.
>> Three weeks after hurricane Maria made a direct hit on Puerto Rico, shredding homes and businesses, more than 80% of the island is still without power, with many people without clean water. Recovery is expected to be vastly complicated by Puerto Rico's more than $70 billion in preexisting financial debts, which forced it to declare bankruptcy, last May.
Trump came under criticism during a visit to the territory, last week, for focusing on the burden Puerto Rico poses to investors, and for comparing the widespread destruction there to what he described as a, quote, real catastrophe in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina in 2005, noting the death toll there was much higher.
The house voting on a $36.5 billion aid package, later Thursday, with nearly $5 billion earmarked for Puerto Rico. Should it pass, the Senate is expected to take it up later this month.