Apr 13, 2019

Southeast, Midwest and Puerto Rico wait for federal disaster relief

A woman walks on a road in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria, in 2017. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images

Puerto Rico policy officials are unsure if or when more federal disaster relief funding will come to the island, as Congress entered recess this week without reaching an agreement on any additional spending to send natural disaster relief to the Midwest and Puerto Rico, NBC reports.

The bottom line: Americans in Puerto Rico and across the country are affected by the stalemate between Congress and the White House, from "farmers in the Southeast who are still grappling with large crop losses from Hurricane Michael last October ... to officials in small-town Iowa and Missouri who are still bailing out from some of the worst floods in recent memory," the New York Times reports.

Background: Trump has privately claimed, without evidence, that Puerto Rico's government is using federal disaster relief funds to pay off debt. An official told the Washington Post that the president "doesn’t want another single dollar going to the island." Meanwhile, Democrats have rejected multiple Republican proposals to increase funding for "all states and territories" instead of giving aid directly to Puerto Rico, saying it's not enough, per the NYT.

Go deeper: Trump wants advisers to find a way to cut Puerto Rico hurricane relief

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The next frontier for Big Science

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In 1945, engineer and science administrator Vannevar Bush laid out a framework for support of science in the U.S. that drove prosperity and American dominance. That model isn't enough anymore, experts said at an event this week in Washington, D.C.

The big picture: With China threatening to overtake the U.S. in R&D spending even as research becomes more international, science must manage the tension between cooperation and competition.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 mins ago - Science

U.S. and Taliban sign peace deal

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) sign a peace agreement during a ceremony in Qatar. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

The United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on Saturday after over a year of off-and-on negotiations, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The signing of the deal officially begins the process to end the United States' longest war, which has spanned nearly two decades. The agreement sets a timetable to pull the remaining 13,000 American troops out of Afghanistan, per the Times, but is contingent on the Taliban's completion of commitments, including breaking ties with international terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda.

Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.