Letter to the Hon. Barack Obama, President of the United States - Evaluate Need for Additional Disaster Response Funding


Dear Mr. President:

Millions of Americans affected by recent natural disasters are struggling to put their lives back together, including in Florida, where many people are recovering from Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine. Given the extent of the damage left in the wake of these disasters, it may be necessary for Congress to provide emergency funding to help the impacted communities make a full recovery. If your administration believes that emergency funding is necessary, we strongly urge you to submit a request to Congress as soon as possible so that it may be considered in the next government funding bill that Congress needs to pass by December 9, 2016.

In addition to Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine hitting Florida since September, there have been several other major natural disasters, most notably the severe flooding that occurred in several parts of the country. While it is our understanding that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) currently has the funds to provide for the immediate needs of those eligible to receive federal disaster assistance under the Stafford Act, it is important to remember that FEMA may require more resources to help restore these communities to pre-disaster conditions.

Along with FEMA, several other federal agencies will play a critical role in recovery efforts, including the Federal Highway Administration, responsible for repairing certain affected roadways, including Florida's A1A; the Army Corps of Engineers, which may be called on to complete several projects to reduce beach erosion and prevent further flooding; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Small Business Administration. As your administration evaluates whether additional funding will be required to respond to these recent disasters, we also urge you to identify how the federal government can save money by rebuilding in a way that promotes mitigation efforts, thereby reducing the need for future federal disaster assistance.

As Congress is fast approaching consideration of a funding vehicle, we urge you to ensure the federal government is adequately equipped to meet the needs of people who are recovering from recent disasters nationwide. Should your administration determine that supplemental disaster appropriations are warranted, we respectfully ask that you promptly submit a supplemental appropriations request to Congress.