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Two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico in 2017. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a key vote on a $13.5 billion disaster-recovery funding measure amid an escalating fallout over hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.

Details: The massive bill passed by the House in January would allocate funding to states like Florida and North Carolina, which were hit last year by hurricanes. Senate Republicans have also added funds for victims in the Midwest affected by flooding last month. But Democrats argue that the $600 million for nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico under the bill is insufficient, and that the island is in urgent need of more funds for disaster relief and to rebuild its water system.

The big picture: President Trump doesn't want to give Puerto Rico any more federal money for its recovery from Hurricane Maria, claiming in private — without evidence — that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt. He told Senate Republicans at a lunch last week that Puerto Rico has already received more disaster funding than many U.S., though the figure he cited was inaccurate, the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): "This is no time for our colleagues across the aisle to prioritize a political fight with the president ahead of the urgent needs of communities across our country."
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): "Republicans must remember that — just as we leave no soldier behind on the battlefield — we help our fellow Americans when there’s a disaster, wherever the disaster strikes. We do not abandon them. Period."
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): "To my colleagues across the aisle who have been spending a lot of time in Iowa lately as presidential candidates ... how are you going to look Iowans in the eye and justify a vote against moving this disaster relief bill ahead?"

Go deeper: Trump wants no more relief funds for Puerto Rico

Go deeper

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

2 hours ago - Science

Exploding demand for laboratory space

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Office occupancy rates remain deflated across industries, but one type of workplace is in high demand: labs.

The big picture: A number of trends — in public health, American demographics and venture capital funding — are colliding to supercharge the life sciences industry.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Technology

Trump's unconventional social media SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Donald Trump's social media startup is under investigation by federal securities regulators, before it's even launched a product, and every new disclosure seems to invite new questions.

Why it matters: Trump Media & Technology Group was always bound to be controversial, but it's inviting extra scrutiny by keeping basic details secret and making wild promises.

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