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Trump again sweeps in Puerto Rico in closed door lunch with Republicans



Trump, as part of broader remarks that touched everything from specialty councilor Robert Mueller's report and healthcare to commerce and North Korea, went out of his way to point out the sum of disaster relief aids distributed in the wake of a series of storms and hurricanes 2017. It is a problem that Trump has had for months – namely Puerto Rico's economy and total disaster relief in negative terms repeatedly in meetings with legislators and staff they have worked through iterations of the next disaster relief bill.

"The point was – do we spend the money wisely?" Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican asked. "I don't mind helping the people of Puerto Rico, but we have to spend the money wisely."

Trump, Senators, then used a chart to show the difference between what Puerto Rico has received over other states like Texas and Florida. At one point, Trump noted that Puerto Rico has received more than $ 90 billion in support. Congressional officials asked if the total mentioned by Trump said it did not track what Congress has provided in support up to this point.

"He just talked about the sum of it," later Marco Rubio, a Republican in Florida, told reporters about Trump's Puerto Rico riff.

"I agree that you should always account for how money is spent but Puerto Rico certainly needs something different from some of these other places," Rubio noted, noting that the island had been hit by several storms and was already in difficult economic minds before the injury occurred.

CNN has come out to the White House to comment on the senator's description of Trump's comments and has not received an immediate response.

Then. Richard Shelby, chairman of the grant committee, said that Trump was "that the point that Puerto Rico has received a lot of money before and much of it had not been spent wisely and I think it is a given".

The issue of Puerto Rico ̵

1; and the President's pronounced frustration with what the island has reached to this point – will be heading now as legislators are working to reach a disaster relief package agreement. The Senate Republicans, who revealed their own $ 13.4 billion on Tuesday, include $ 600 million for complementary dietary supplements or island food stamps. The Senate voted Tuesday to begin processing the bill.

But the GOP effort lacks what House Democrats is doing to get help to Puerto Rico.

"House Democrats oppose this proposition because it does not adequately address disaster relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and the territories" Evan Hollander, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said of the Senate bill. "If the Senate sends this bill, we will insist on going to the conference to ensure that we meet all American needs".

A Republican spokesman since Rick Scott in Florida said the funding for Puerto Rico is an "ongoing conversation" between Trump and Scott.

"His opinion is that we have to get this bill done now because both Florida and Puerto Rico need this funding now," said spokesman Chris Hartline. "The Senate is determined to fight the people of Puerto Rico in the US Senate. That's why his first floor and his first amendment were filed for Puerto Rico dietary supplements."

CNN's Ryan Nobles and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.


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