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« Trump: The First Year

Trump rejects push to help solve Puerto Rico debt crisis

Published: Thu, April 27, 2017 @ 2:32 p.m.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — President Donald Trump said today he is opposed to a push to help Puerto Rico resolve its $70 billion debt load as the U.S. territory faces looming austerity measures amid a deep economic crisis.

Trump issued a Twitter blast aimed at efforts to help the island cover its Medicaid costs – an issue that's entangled in Puerto Rico's last-minute debt negotiations.

"The Democrats want to shut government if we don't bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!" he tweeted.

Trump was referring to negotiations over a huge, government-wide spending bill that includes myriad elements, including abortion-related issues and Obama-era regulations on the environment on regulating Wall Street.

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said at a news conference today Puerto Rico remains one of several "outstanding areas of concern."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby legislators for relief from a decade-long economic crisis that is blamed partly on previous administrations in the territory that borrowed billions of dollars to cover budget deficits.

Rossello repeated requests that Puerto Rico receive the same amount of Medicaid funding that U.S. states do. It currently receives lower Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements compared with U.S. states, forcing it to spend more than $1 billion a year in Medicaid alone above what it would face if it were a state. Nearly half of the island's 3.4 million inhabitants rely on Medicaid.

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