Jun 12 2009
Today, U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced that through his efforts, instead of the standard 75%, FEMA will reimburse the Commonwealth of Kentucky for 90% of Public Assistance costs and 100% of essential assistance and debris removal costs for those affected by the May 2009 severe storms. These significant increases will take the cost burden off of state and local governments and accelerate the rebuilding process at little to no cost to the community. Provisions authored by Rogers waiving the current federal cost-share requirements have been included in the pending FY09 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, which is expected to be considered by the Congress next week.
“Between the devastating winter ice storm, the monstrous rainstorm that flooded homes and hollers, and now with yesterday’s most recent flooding that continues to plague our region, Kentucky continues to be ransacked by devastation and overwhelmed by the expense. These provisions increase the federal share and get more money flowing to repair and restoration projects more quickly,” said Rogers. “Our counties are already strapped thin and a higher federal share will ease the burden facing our Commonwealth. I’m pleased to see that my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee recognized this tremendous need and the true emergency facing our people. There are many challenges to overcome as we move forward, but this is a huge step in the right direction as we begin to rebuild and continue to respond to Mother Nature’s wrath.”
“After the provision was agreed to, other extraneous items unrelated to our war efforts and emergency relief for natural disasters were added to the bill and are complicating its passage in the House of Representatives. Among these extraneous items is a U.S. Taxpayer bailout of foreign governments to the tune of $108 billion which dwarfs the amount included for our own troops that are bravely serving overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. I remain steadfastly opposed to any additional bailouts- especially bailouts that could conceivably go to countries that exploit terrorism like Iran and Lebanon. Shortchanging the troops and bailing out foreign governments and potentially terrorist states, is not something I can support. I remain hopeful that these objectionable provisions can be addressed so that my concerns and the apprehension of many others can be satisfied.”
Background on the FEMA Cost Share Provisions:
Previously, under President Obama’s May 29, 2009 disaster declaration, FEMA was authorized to reimburse only 75% of expenses covered under Public Assistance categories. Now, because of the change spearheaded by Rogers, FEMA is required to reimburse 90% of the total costs incurred, which significantly lessens the financial burdens on state and local governments. Public assistance covers any repairs, restoration or replacement of damaged public facilities, such as schools, courthouses, and police stations. This provision will also reimburse 90% of the state’s costs for deploying the National Guard, and reimbursement of wages and overtime costs of public employees who spent countless hours helping their fellow citizens. 22 counties across the Commonwealth are eligible for Public Assistance.
Similarly, essential assistance and debris removal categories were also only originally covered at a 75% cost-share by FEMA. Because of the provisions authored by Rogers, these costs will now be reimbursed fully by the federal government, at 100%. Essential assistance covers a wide range of services and addresses issues that threatened life and property immediately after the storm, including costs incurred from search and rescue efforts, emergency medical care, supplies, temporary shelters, and public health and safety announcements. Debris removal covers expenses related to the removal of wreckage left behind from the disaster on public and private lands, roads, and waterways. These provisions come on top of the 100% reimbursement rates for individual assistance claims already announced by President Obama.
Individuals and local governments claiming a storm-related loss and seeking assistance from storm damages should contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 for persons with speech or hearing disabilities. Additional information about this disaster and required forms to apply for assistance are available at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/. In order to apply for individual assistance, an applicant should have on hand his/her social security number, current and pre-disaster address, telephone number to be contacted, insurance information, total household annual income, bank routing and account numbers, and a description of losses that were caused by the disaster. The disaster declaration number is FEMA-1841-DR.