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Report: Mainland Companies Got The Bulk Of Puerto Rico Recovery Money

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Report: Mainland Companies Got The Bulk Of Puerto Rico Recovery Money
That may go against the Stafford Act, which lays out the government's disaster relief policies.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

After Hurricane Maria, the U.S. government poured billions of dollars into recovery in Puerto Rico. But the majority of that money went to companies on the mainland, according to a new report.

Researchers at the Puerto Rico-based Center for a New Economy analyzed contracts federal agencies issued through August 2018. They found almost 90 percent of the recovery money — some $4.3 billion — went to mainland firms.

The report says that goes against a provision in the Stafford Act, a law that lays out federal disaster response policy. A provision in that act encourages agencies to award contracts to local companies to give the recovering economy a boost.

Instead, the report says mainland companies are likely relying on subcontractors on the island who may only get a fraction of the money.

Puerto Rico's economy was suffering before Maria — the island was already tens of billions of dollars in debt. The local government estimates recovery costs could total $139 billion.

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN.