A line to buy bread in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria passed through the island. Photo: Carlos Giusti / AP

Last week, Hurricane Maria, which came right on the heels of Hurricane Irma, ripped through Puerto Rico, killing at least 13 people and wiping out electricity on the entire island. Strapped for resources, Puerto Rico now faces a steep recovery and officials say residents may not have power for 4 to 6 months.

The bottom line: Hit by back-to-back hurricanes and $73 billion in debt, Puerto Rico is dealing with a crisis of historic proportions. The U.S. federal government will have to take a significant role in the recovery process to give the U.S. territory a chance at bouncing back.

  • The state-run power company in Puerto Rico is broke, along with several other government agencies, due to the debt crisis.
  • President Trump has pledged the full support of the U.S. government in Puerto Rico's recovery and said he will visit the island.
  • The port of San Juan is open and accepting shipments of food, water and generators.
  • Puerto Rico's federal control board has authorized $1 billion for hurricane relief, but Gov. Ricardo Rossello has said he will ask for more. The damage could top $30 billion, per MarketWatch.
  • FEMA response teams have already been landing in Puerto Rico and begun search and rescue missions. FEMA also said it would bring satellite phones to towns and cities to use while the telephone and power lines are repaired.
  • 70,000 people were evacuated from areas downstream of the Guajataca Dam, which officials said had cracked.

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Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

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A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Who Biden might put on the Supreme Court

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In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Democrats are compiling lists of Black women they want Joe Biden to consider for the bench if he's elected — with an eye toward people from outside the traditional legal establishment.

Why it matters: Supreme Court appointments are one of the most consequential parts of any president's legacy, and a President Biden would need to find picks who could try to wrangle liberal victories from a solid conservative majority.

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