House Speaker Paul Ryan said significant disaster assistance in Puerto Rico must continue until the island is no longer trapped in a humanitarian crisis.
"We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis right now," Ryan said. "They are the personnel that are necessary to deal with the humanitarian crisis. That is necessary. And that is what's happening right now."
Ryan, R-Wis., made the pledge in response to a reporter's question about President Trump's morning tweet suggesting aid to the island by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the military will have to be withdrawn at some point.
"We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!" Trump tweeted.
Ryan told reporters the 17,000 aid workers from FEMA and the military who are now on the ground in Puerto Rico will stay there and keep working. But Ryan said the federal government must help Puerto Rico become "self-sufficient," an argument Trump has also been making.
"Yes, we have to do more the help Puerto Rico rebuild its own economy so it can be self-sufficient," Ryan said.
The island, a U.S. territory, is under the governance of a control board after years of mismanagement led to a pile-up of massive debt it was unable to repay.