Letter to the Hon. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States - Stanton Urges Federal Government to Ease Financial Burden of COVID Response for States, Cities and Tribes

Letter

By: Mark Pocan, Denny Heck, Adam Smith, Pramila Jayapal, Derek Kilmer, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Stacey Plaskett, Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott, Filemon Vela, Jr., Colin Allred, Eddie Johnson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Veronica Escobar, Vicente Gonzalez, Al Green, Lizzie Fletcher, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Mike Doyle, Jr., Conor Lamb, Chrissy Houlahan, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Brian Fitzpatrick, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Marcia Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Brian Higgins, Joe Morelle, Anthony Brindisi, Paul Tonko, Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, José Serrano, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Max Rose, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi, Steven Horsford, Susie Lee, Dina Titus, Ben Lujan, Jr., Xochitl Torres Small, Deb Haaland, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, Frank Pallone, Jr., Joshua Gottheimer, Andy Kim, Donald Norcross, Chris Pappas, Alma Adams, David Price, G. K. Butterfield, Jr., Kilili Sablan, Emanuel Cleaver II, Lacy Clay, Jr., Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Katherine Clark, Joe Kennedy III, Jim McGovern, Cedric Richmond, John Yarmuth, Sharice Davids, André Carson, Cheri Bustos, Lauren Underwood, Bill Foster, Brad Schneider, Jan Schakowsky, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Danny Davis, Sean Casten, Dan Lipinski, Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush, Tulsi Gabbard, Edward Case, Michael San Nicolas, David Scott, Hank Johnson, Jr., Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Frederica Wilson, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Jr., Val Demings, Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy, John Rutherford, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney, Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Juan Vargas, Harley Rouda, Maxine Waters, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Gil Cisneros, Linda Sánchez, Raul Ruiz, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Lieu, Grace Napolitano, Brad Sherman, Tony Cárdenas, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Jerry McNerney, Ami Bera, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Aumua Amata Radewagen, Greg Stanton
Date: April 20, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We appreciate the steps you took to declare a nationwide emergency pursuant to Sec. 501(b) of
the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207 (the
"Stafford Act"). We also appreciate the approval of major disaster declaration requests pursuant
to the emergency declaration by 50 U.S. states, tribes, and territories. We agree that the severity
and magnitude of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has the potential to cause severe
consequences for our country's national and economic security. Given the unprecedented nature
of this pandemic, we urge you to eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) non-Federal cost share currently required under these declarations to help state, local,
tribal and territorial governments fight this global pandemic.

Since your initial nationwide emergency declaration, the number of positive cases has grown
rapidly. 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. Our request empowers those entities to focus their
limited resources on containing and mitigating the virus.

Raising the federal cost share is not unprecedented and within your authority under Sec. 501(b)
of the Stafford Act, which states "… the primary responsibility for response rests with the United
States because… the United States exercises exclusive or preeminent responsibility and
authority." This authority has been invoked in times of past national crises. The federal portion
of FEMA public assistance cost share has also been adjusted during the aftermath of Hurricane
Sandy in 2012, the devastating flooding in Louisiana in 2016, and the aftermath of Hurricane
Irma in 2017. As our entire country faces the daunting challenge of defeating this global
pandemic, the full capacity of the federal government needs to be used so those on the front lines
can focus on saving lives and protect our most vulnerable populations.

Thank you very much for your attention to our request to help our state, local, tribal and
territorial governments. It is an important and urgently needed step that will help our nation
combat this global pandemic.

Sincerely,


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