As President Trump visited storm-ravaged Puerto Rico Tuesday, his administration is preparing to request at least $10 billion in federal aid for short-term disaster relief. The funds would be used for recovery efforts in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were devastated by Hurricane Maria two weeks ago. The Disaster Relief Fund operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency has about $9 billion remaining in it following a $15 billion infusion to address storm damage in Texas and Florida last month, but much of that money will be spent over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, officials are discussing a potentially larger long-term aid package that would address some of Puerto Rico’s outdated infrastructure and persistent fiscal problems.
But Trump has complaints about the cost. While in Puerto Rico, Trump said to local officials, “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack — because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that’s fine, we’ve saved a lot of lives.” The comment seemed to be part of the president’s ongoing dispute with local officials, some of whom have criticized the administration’s slow response to the hurricane.