(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) today joined U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and John Rutherford (R-FL-04) and 174 Democratic and Republican House colleagues in calling on the White House to eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) non-Federal cost share required under the COVID-19 emergency and major disaster declarations. The current formula requires states to pay 25 percent of public and individual assistance costs while the federal government is responsible for 75 percent of the costs. These declarations have unlocked precious new resources to state and local governments, and the elimination of cost-sharing would give these governments even more flexibility to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our nation now leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 cases. We worry the worst has yet to come. It is vital the federal government leverage the full weight of its resources to allow state, local, tribal and territorial governments to dedicate their limited resources to outbreak response efforts in their fight against the spread of COVID-19. Increasing the federal cost share of FEMA public assistance provides much-needed relief in additional federal assistance for state, local, tribal and territorial governments,” the members write.
There is ample recent precedent for the members’ request as the cost share has been changed for past national crises. The federal portion of FEMA public assistance cost share was adjusted during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the devastating flooding in Louisiana in 2016, and the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The letter has the support of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National Governors Association, National League of Cities, National Volunteer Fire Council, and U.S. Conference of Mayors.
A copy of the members’ letter along with a full list of signatories is available here,