FEMA and Treasury Withhold Funds for Puerto Rico

FEMA and the U.S. Treasury Department are temporarily withholding a billion-dollar emergency loan to help Puerto Rico with disaster recovery efforts. The loan was approved by Congress several months ago, but officials from FEMA and Treasury issued a letter on January 8 stating that the island’s central cash balance did not display a need for the loan. The administration will work with Puerto Rico officials and the federal control board currently overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances to determine when the funds will be released. The same control board recently rejected legislation that would have created an emergency fund of $100 million for municipalities to fund recovery efforts.  Nearly 40% of electric-power customers in Puerto Rico remain in the dark. 

Local officials have forecasted that Puerto Rico’s power, water, and sewer companies will run out of money later this month, jeopardizing essential services for residents of the island. The territory is also struggling to restructure its significant public debt.

See the letter from FEMA and Treasury at: http://bit.ly/2mS6eEe