A man rides his bicycle in Guanica, Puerto Rico on Jan. 15. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration reportedly followed through on its plan to limit Puerto Rico's hurricane disaster relief funds on Wednesday, the New York Times reports.

Yes, but: In response to back-to-back earthquakes that began in late December, President Trump upgraded his assessment of the island's situation from an "emergency" to a "major disaster" on Thursday — authorizing FEMA and Homeland Security to provide assistance on the ground.

  • Thursday's approval also specifies that federal funding is available Puerto Ricans affected by earthquakes in Guánica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce, Utuado and Yauco.

Driving the news: Two 5.5 and 5.0-magnitude earthquakes shook the island on Thursday, according to the United States Geological Survey, along with a 4.8-magnitude quake and three 4.6 quakes.

  • Thousands of people in Puerto Rico have been displaced by earthquakes that have killed at least one person.
  • The U.S. Army built tent cities last weekend to house those displaced by the quakes, NPR reports, after a 5.9-magnitude temblor caused landslides along the southern coast.

Details: The administration's efforts to restrict aid to the island — initially approved in the wake of 2017's Hurricane Maria — involve blocking money for its electrical grid and cutting a $15-an-hour minimum wage to workers on federally funded projects, per the Times.

  • Puerto Rico will have to "submit budget plans to its federally mandated fiscal control board" and "bolster its property registration database" to access the $8.3 billion in disaster prevention funds and $8.2 billion in recovery funds, the Times reports.
  • "Puerto Rico’s government was already straining to spend federal money under earlier restrictions. The new conditions will make it much harder," the Times writes.

Background: The effects of Hurricane Maria, which killed at least 2,975 people, have not been forgotten on the island. The recent string of earthquakes is "only amplifying fears that structures have been further weakened," per NPR.

  • The Housing and Urban Development Department has released only $1.5 billion in congressional relief to Puerto Rico, while citing concerns about the island's political corruption, per the Times.
  • Just $5 million of those allocated funds have been spent.

Go deeper: More earthquakes hit Puerto Rico, as island remains in fear

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.