Federal government to pay for Puerto Rico’s emergency response

Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

PUERTO RICO —  The federal government will pick up 100 percent of the costs of debris removal and other emergency assistance to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

President Donald Trump made the change Tuesday as part of an amendment to his earlier disaster declaration authorizing federal aid. U.S. states and territories typically cover 25 percent of the costs, with the federal government paying the remaining 75 percent.

But the island’s government is so strapped for cash that Puerto Rican officials and sympathetic members of Congress had called on Trump to waive the cost-sharing requirement.

Trump’s declaration covers the removal of downed trees, utility poles and other debris, as well as spending for emergency measures to protect lives and public health and safety.