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Puerto Rico’s ‘Inept Politicians’ Want to Use Federal Disaster Aid to Pay Debt, Trump Says

President Donald Trump falsely asserted that Puerto Rican politicians are seeking to use federal disaster aid to pay off the crippling debts that pushed the island into a record bankruptcy.

Puerto Rico is expecting billions in disaster recovery aid to help rebuild from last year’s Hurricane Maria, an influx that has improved the island’s economic prospects by bringing in capital for infrastructure and promising to create jobs. This week it prompted a federal oversight board to project fiscal surpluses for the island through 2023, after accounting for a planned program of economic reforms.

But the island’s leaders are not proposing using disaster recovery aid to directly pay off bondholders or other lenders, who have been squaring off in federal court and stand to recover only part of their investments once the government emerges from bankruptcy.