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Puerto Rico Aid Deliberately and Illegally Delayed, Agency Says

Politics
Blue tarps given out by FEMA cover several roofs two years after Hurricane Maria affected the island in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 18. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP / Getty Images

Top officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed to lawmakers last week that they knowingly — and illegally — stalled hurricane aid to Puerto Rico.


HUD Chief Financial Officer Irv Dennis and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development David Woll said before a House Appropriations subcommittee Thursday that the agency purposefully missed a deadline to issue a notice to Puerto Rico that would have jumpstarted a planning process to manage additional aid, despite successfully delivering the notice to 17 other states affected by disasters.

Woll and Dennis told lawmakers that HUD is concerned about the misuse of funds given to the island. Two years after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has received just a third of the $43 billion Congress has allocated for the island's recovery.

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