Sewell, Alabama Delegation urge president Biden to increase federal cost for FEMA

Published 5:11 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

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U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) is recommending that President Joe Biden increase the federal cost share for the FEMA Public Assistance program for debris removal and emergency protective measures to 100% in response to the severe storms and tornadoes  that hit the state on January 12.

Sewell and members of the Alabama Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to Biden.

In accordance to Biden’s approval of a major disaster declaration for the state last week, the federal government now covers at least 75% of eligible costs of FEMA public assistance grants for disaster recovery.

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“While we are immensely grateful for President Biden’s swift approval of a major disaster declaration, additional federal resources are needed to ensure that our communities can fully recover,” Sewell said. “So many of our municipalities were still recovering from the financial devastation of Hurricanes Zeta and Sally and the COVID-19 pandemic when the January 12th storms tore through our state.

“I am proud to lead all nine members of the Alabama Delegation in requesting that President Biden increase the

federal cost share for FEMA public assistance from 75 percent to 100 percent, and I thank my colleagues for their strong support.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville agrees with Sewell, saying it’s a priority to help state residents recover from tornado damage.

“As officials and volunteers work around the clock to get Alabamians back on their feet following recent devastating storms, there is still a long road to recovery ahead,” Tuberville said. “I hope President Biden acts swiftly to provide those impacted by the storms with as much support as possible.”

Senator Katie Britt, who visited Selma over the last two weeks since the storm hit, said it’s great to see state officials unite to help tornado victims.

“In the aftermath of the severe weather that devastated our communities on January 12, we have seen the very best of our great state – people have banded together to help their fellow Alabamians recover and rebuild,” Britt said. “We are grateful for the incredible first responders, law enforcement officers, and volunteers who continue to devote their time, talent, and resources to these valiant efforts. While we appreciate the swift, collaborative support thus far offered by President Biden and FEMA, the situation on-the-ground makes it clear that additional federal resources are both warranted and needed as the recovery process moves forward.”

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides supplemental grants to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and certain types of private non-profits so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies.

After an event like a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or wildfire, communities need help to cover their costs for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and restoring public infrastructure. The federal share of assistance is at least 75 percent of the eligible cost.