Bipartisan Bill Would Eliminate FEMA Cost-Sharing Requirement for States’ Disaster Recovery in 2020 – Something New Hampshire and Other States Have Requested
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored bipartisan legislation to provide financial relief to state and local governments that are responding to both an unprecedented public health crisis and other disasters, all the while grappling with dramatic losses to their revenue. The bipartisan Local Community Emergency Relief Act was introduced by Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Robert Menendez (R-NJ), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Currently, FEMA only covers 75 percent of eligible COVID-19 response costs while state and local governments must cover the rest. However, as states face mounting financial challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire and other states have called on the federal government to eliminate these burdensome cost sharing requirements. This bipartisan bill would require that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) waive the state and local cost share associated with federal major disaster declarations through calendar year 2020, freeing up state and local resources for other response activities.
“Between hurricane season and a global pandemic, states are faced with the immense challenges associated with these and other emergencies amid a steep loss in revenue,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan legislation would provide critical financial relief to states by waiving the cost-sharing requirements for FEMA assistance programs, something that states, including New Hampshire, have requested. This is an issue I have been pressing the Trump administration to act on for months, and it is essential that additional financial support for states is included in the next COVID-19 relief legislation.”
Senator Hassan previously led the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation in supporting New Hampshire’s requests to waive FEMA’s cost-sharing requirements, and joined her colleagues in urging the Trump administration to waive these requirements across the board. Additionally, Senator Hassan is working to include substantial and flexible funding to support state and local governments’ efforts to save lives and protect the economy in the next COVID-19 relief package. Senator Hassan recently spoke about this issue on the Senate floor, where she referenced numerous discussions she has had with state and local officials about the need for more support from the federal government. Furthermore, Senator Hassan introduced bipartisan legislation last week with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to extend the current year-end deadline for states to use federal CARES Act assistance – as well as any future funding to state and local governments – through 2021.