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White House to require Puerto Rico to change tack on rebuild

PONCE, Puerto Rico —The Trump administration plans to impose several new requirements on billions of dollars in aid for Puerto Rico, including a new restriction on the wages paid by the island’s government to contractors working on disaster relief, according to two officials with knowledge of the plan.

The White House has for months worked to enact new restrictions on about $8 billion in disaster mitigation aid Congress approved for the island, which was hit this month with recurring earthquakes two years after Hurricane Maria devastated much of the US territory.

Under the parameters the Trump administration is proposing, Puerto Rico’s government will have to agree to give new oversight authority to the island’s federally mandated Fiscal Control Board — an appointed, independent government body — to receive funding for certain federal projects, officials said. Puerto Rico also will have to agree to pay federal contractors working on disaster relief less than $15 an hour, despite a recent executive order mandating the rate.

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Puerto Rico’s government also will have to agree to create a new system for registering properties and deeds, a move aimed at curbing fraud in requests for federal reimbursement, according to the officials.

washington post