President Donald Trump has maintained that the federal response to the category 4 hurricane was well coordinated and he has repeatedly accused the media of exaggerating the plight of Puerto Ricans.
The board sent a letter to Congressional leaders Tuesday pleading for "the maximum federal assistance to Puerto Rico", including grants and low-interest loans, saying the island will "face severe cash shortfalls from lower revenues, higher costs, and delayed or reduced cost-saving measures".
Embarking on his trip, Trump said the mayor had "come back a long way", though without detailing what in Cruz's stance had changed.
Cruz's name was conspicuously missing from the litany of thanks for a job well done. "Sir, it's all about saving lives". When she told him face-to-face that she's working to save lives and not anxious about politics, he completely ignored her.
"We can help it and we will help it, we will help Puerto Rico rebuild from the storm".
Some 34 people are thought to have died on the island. "You don't need them anymore", the President remarked.
In any event, bringing the USA into the fray would make a hard case even more complicated, bankruptcy experts say.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has criticized the administration's response to Puerto Rico, was among those Trump met with during his visit to the territory. "He's sort of like miscommunicator-in-chief". "I would say that the debt is secondary, that human life comes first".
Outside of the bankruptcy case, Trump can't do much to help Puerto Rico eliminate its debt, said Richard Cooper, a restructuring lawyer with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which until earlier this year had been advising Puerto Rico on its debt troubles. She tweeted, "They REALLY understood the disconnect between how things are supposed to happen and how they really happen".
While Trump can't erase the island's debt obligations, the dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, told CNBC that bondholders worry the US will start giving new loans to Puerto Rico, as requested by its governor.
Over the weekend, Trump derided the mayor's "poor leadership" and implied that Puerto Ricans were not doing enough to help themselves. "While some of the news coverage is Fake, most showed great warmth and friendship", he wrote.
However, considering Puerto Rico has very little in the way of electricity and communication while it is still recovering, it is highly likely that the reported death toll will only rise as recovery efforts continue.