(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, M.D., Anthony G. Brown, and David Trone (all Md.) in writing to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor urging the approval of Maryland’s request for federal disaster assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

These federal resources would support the state’s ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency and efforts to mitigate the effects of future emergencies, including public health crises. Assistance could be used for hospital surge capacity, educational campaigns, supply-chain strengthening measures, technology development, and the installation of safety notification systems, among other purposes.

“As the federal Congressional delegation, we strongly support the State of Maryland’s efforts to begin the long road to recovery during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote. “We ask you to take immediate action to strengthen resiliency and mitigate future damages due this pandemic or future public health emergencies.”

The lawmakers continued: “Recovery from this unprecedented event will test the limits of state and local resources, thus federal assistance fills critical gaps in recovery activities. In addition, grant funds to reduce the impact of future pandemics, and disasters more broadly, will reduce suffering and impacts on Marylanders.”

More information about the HMGP may be found here.

Maryland’s request for approval of a major disaster declaration was approved through the strong support of the Congressional Delegation. To date, requests have been approved for multiple important forms of FEMA assistance, including nearly $19 million through the Emergency Protective measures announced earlier this month. 

Full text of the letter may be found here.