By Mc Nelly Torres, DC Report, October 2019

Trump administration officials have admitted that last summer they knowingly withheld billions of dollars Congress appropriated to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. House Democrats say withholding the relief money violates the law.

Federal law requires that our government help Americans hit by natural disasters. But two Housing and Urban Development officials acknowledged at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Oct. 17 that HUD blocked the Puerto Rico relief funds.

The HUD delay meant the island missed a deadline to apply for billions of dollars in disaster relief funds, raising doubts about when, if ever, the money will flow to the island devastated in September 2017 by a Category 5 hurricane.

The federal money is part of a $19 billion supplemental disaster relief bill that Congress passed in June. It came with stipulations requiring HUD to provide funding notices to nine states and two American territories, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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