Representatives Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel are among the 45 members of Congress from states affected by Tropical Storm Sandy who today asked President Obama to submit a request for additional disaster assistance funds to Congress.
“Funds available in FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund are diminishing daily, and disaster assistance in related agencies will not be sufficient to help families and businesses in need,” they wrote. “We request the Office of Management and Budget submit an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, pursuant to the Budget Control Act, to provide emergency aid for federal disaster assistance programs.”
The members of Congress also called on President Obama to extend current provisions for 100 percent reimbursement for a full 30 days after a disaster, expand these provisions to cover all direct federal assistance, and increase the federal cost share for Public Assistance to 90 percent so state and local governments can respond more quickly to take steps toward a complete recovery.
Congressman Peter King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, are leading a bipartisan task force looking at ensuring the federal government help states affected by Hurricane Sandy to recover and rebuild.
Members of Congress representing New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Delaware signed the letter.
Full text of letter:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. President:
We commend you and your Administration for your support of communities that have suffered as a result of Tropical Storm Sandy, which took the lives of more than 100 Americans, destroyed homes and businesses, crippled infrastructure and devastated the East Coast of the United States. Rebuilding cannot be a decade-long path; our communities must begin rebuilding today.
In the wake of disasters, the federal government has a tradition of helping states recover from catastrophic damage. As the full extent of Sandy’s destruction is not yet known, it is already clear that significant federal assistance will be required.
Funds available in FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund are diminishing daily, and disaster assistance in related agencies will not be sufficient to help families and businesses in need. We request the Office of Management and Budget submit an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, pursuant to the Budget Control Act, to provide emergency aid for federal disaster assistance programs.
In addition, we ask that you extend current provisions for 100 percent reimbursement for a full 30 days after the disaster and expand these provisions to cover all direct federal assistance. As there is no doubt that the damage in the hardest hit areas will meet the threshold to allow for a cost share waiver, we ask that you exercise your discretion in this matter to increase the federal cost share for Public Assistance categories A-G to 90 percent so that state and local governments can respond more quickly to take steps toward a complete recovery.
A full recovery will require disaster assistance programs through a number of agencies and departments, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Economic Development Administration, and Small Business Administration. Therefore, we hope your Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal will reflect the financial resources each department will require to meet ongoing recovery needs.
We look forward to working with you to help our families and businesses recover and stand ready to provide any information to help expedite our request.
Thank you for your consideration.
PETER T. KING
ROBERT E. ANDREWS
ALLYSON Y. SCHWARTZ
FRANK PALLONE, JR.
BILL PASCRELL, JR.
RODNEY P. FRELINGHUYSEN
CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY
YVETTE D. CLARKE
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN
TIMOTHY H. BISHOP
GREGORY W. MEEKS
DONALD PAYNE, JR.