Billions in aid still on hold as new round of quakes hit Puerto Rico

As Saturday brought more strong earthquakes to the southern part of Puerto Rico, the Trump Administration still has not sent $18 billion in hurricane relief aid to the island already approved by Congress, as Democrats this have stepped up their public criticism of President Donald Trump over the continued aid delay.

"El sur a merced de Trump" - "The South at the mercy of Trump," screamed the Saturday front page headline in the major Puerto Rico newspaper El Nuevo Dia, even before the latest round of temblors on Saturday.

"Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico should receive immediately the $18 billion withheld by the Trump Administration," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

"The United States government must do all it can to assist our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico," said Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA).

"The Trump Administration can’t neglect the island’s needs once again," said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY).

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly urged the White House to change its ways on the billions in withheld aid.

"We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference.

"The ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal," the Speaker told reporters.

In 2019, Congress approved a plan which set new deadlines for the Trump Administration to release aid which had been withheld to Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Puerto Rico.

But the September deadline came and went for Puerto Rico -  and billions still remain on hold.

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