Puerto Ri­can gov­er­nor slams gov­ern­ment; says aid in­ad­e­quate

The Western Star - - WORLD -

Puerto Ri­can Gov. Ri­cardo Ros­sello on Fri­day slammed the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to Hur­ri­cane Maria, say­ing res­i­dents of the is­land, who are U.S. cit­i­zens, are be­ing treated like ``sec­ond­class cit­i­zens.’’ Ros­sello and other crit­ics have com­plained that the fed­eral aid given to Puerto Rico af­ter its worst nat­u­ral disas­ter has not been equal to that given to Florida, Texas and Cal­i­for­nia af­ter sim­i­lar dis­as­ters. ``One hun­dred years of U.S. cit­i­zen­ship, but not quite equal,’’ Ros­sello lamented dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Or­lando on Fri­day.

The Puerto Ri­can gov­er­nor is push­ing for a sup­ple­men­tal disas­ter-aid pack­age and re­lief from the fed­eral taxre­form bill. He urged fed­eral law­mak­ers to grant the coun­try sup­ple­men­tal Med­i­caid fund­ing and to elim­i­nate the cost-shar­ing re­quire­ments, which he said was done in Louisiana. He ac­knowl­edged that Puerto Rico is com­pet­ing with Florida, Texas and Cal­i­for­nia for the funds.

``It is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able, it is in­hu­mane and you have to ask your­self if this would hap­pen in any other state. The an­swer is no. The re­al­ity is this would only hap­pen in Puerto Rico be­cause we are treated as sec­ond-class cit­i­zens,’’ he said, de­nounc­ing Repub­li­cans who op­pose ad­di­tional emer­gency fund­ing be­cause they say it would in­crease the na­tional debt.

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