Puerto Rico has been rocked by aftershocks from the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit the island Tuesday, killing one and knocking out power and water in some areas. Residents have been sleeping outside in case the aftershocks cause more damage. According to Jose Ortiz, executive director of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority, most of the island is without power, which has been restored to about 100,000 customers, including "most hospitals."
According to CNN, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced that aid will be made available in response to the earthquake. But that promise can't be taken at face value, since the Trump administration has refused to release all of the disaster recovery money allocated after 2017's devastating Hurricanes Maria and Irma. In fact, about $18 billion Congress appropriated for disaster aid has not been provided, including funding for rebuilding both housing and the electrical infrastructure.
Democrats in Congress are calling on Trump to finally release all of that funding. In a statement, the Democratic chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, praised the residents of Puerto Rico who have "repeatedly shown strength and resiliency," but said that their their responses "are no substitute for adequate government assistance." "The Trump administration’s indifference and incompetence have already cost residents of Puerto Rico their lives and their livelihoods, and continuing that pattern now is completely unacceptable," he added. "When Congress appropriates disaster recovery funds, they need to be used wisely as soon as possible. I urge this administration to remember that lives are at stake and the public is watching." In response, a senior administration official told The Hill that Trump "has made clear that releasing billions of dollars without proper accountability is not going to happen."
Sen. Chuck Schumer joined with several House members to appeal to Housing Secretary Ben Carson to release $8.3 billion in disaster aid intended to rebuild housing, one chunk of the $18 billion being withheld—illegally withheld, it must be pointed out. The Congress directs spending; it has all the power of the purse under our Constitution. There's another impeachment article in that, should the House need it.