Puerto Rico: Trump expected to ask for additional $29B in relief funding

President Donald Trump speaks to the media Tuesday as he departs the White House for a day trip to Puerto Rico to survey damage following Hurricane Maria. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Oct. 4 (UPI) — The White House is expected to ask Congress to authorize nearly $30 billion in additional disaster aid and insurance for Puerto Rico, as the island continues to try and recover from two hurricanes.

The funding would give $16 billion for loan forgiveness under the National Flood Insurance Program and $12.7 billion for federal disaster relief operations, The Washington Post reported.

An additional $500 million would be set aside to fight wildfires in the western United States.

Congress has already authorized nearly $8 billion in disaster relief funding to deal with damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but the White House said it would need to come back for more.

The White House could request the additional aid as early as Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. The House may vote on the aid package as early as next week.

The aid news comes after President Donald Trump‘s visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, where he spoke of aiding the storm-torn country.

“You have thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that’s fine,” he said.

Puerto Rican officials estimate that the recovery and reconstruction efforts will cost $60 billion.

David Bogaty, the chief executive officer of WorldNet, described the situation on the island as a “war-zone.”

“Although the hurricane struck on Sept. 20, Puerto Rico still resembles a war zone. Buildings look bombed, and electric cables, glass debris, and power poles are strewn through the streets. Many people on the island still have no electricity, food, water or communications,” Bogaty said.

“Aid is essential and coming in daily, but we need significantly more assistance to get lifesaving resources into the hands of those who need it.”

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