Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

New York’s Congressional Representatives Send Bipartisan Request to Trump Administration for Federal Coverage of COVID-19 Costs

Apr 20, 2020
In The News

WASHINGTON – New York’s entire 28 member bipartisan delegationsent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday requesting his administration expeditiously grant the state a waiver to provide 100% federal funding for all Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emergency work in response to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

The representatives asked that any eligible work paid for through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) be paid for by the federal government rather the New York taxpayers, as was done by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama after 9-11 and Superstorm Sandy.

“With New York State at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, it is imperative that New York receive all the federal resources available to save lives and protect public health and safety. The costs associated with responding to this public health crisis are astronomical,” the jointly signed letter stated. “New York State expects to request billions of additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the DRF in the coming months. If New York State must shoulder the cost of even 25 percent of this massive bill, it could deal a devastating blow to New York’s vibrant economy.”

The complete 28 member New York delegation that joined the letter were Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Pete King (NY-2), Thomas Suozzi (NY-3), Kathleen Rice (NY-4), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Grace Meng (NY-6), Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Max Rose (NY-11), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Jose Serrano (NY-15), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Tom Reed (NY-23), John Katko (NY-24), Joe Morelle (NY-25), and Brian Higgins (NY-26).

A copy of the letter sent to President Trump can be found below:

Dear President Trump: 

We write today to urge you to expeditiously grant New York a waiver that provides 100 percent federal funding for all FEMA emergency work in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Any eligible work paid for through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) should be paid for by the federal government, not New Yorkers.

On March 13, you issued an Emergency Declaration for New York, as well as for 55 other states, territories, and the District of Columbia. On March 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York requested a Major Disaster Declaration (MDD), the first in the country, to aid the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 20, you granted the first-in-the-nation COVID-19 MDD for New York after a strong push from the New York Congressional Delegation. Both of these declarations allow New York State to receive reimbursement for eligible work from the DRF. On March 25, the Senate passed H.R.748, the CARES Act, which more than doubled the DRF by adding $45 billion. The March 20 MDD now grants New York State access to Public Assistance, Category B – Emergency Protective Measures and the Crisis Counselling program for individuals. While this is an incredibly important step in combating the COVID-19 outbreak, this assistance comes at a 75 percent federal and 25 percent state cost share.

As of April 13, the New York State Department of Health reported over 195,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York State, with over 104,000 in New York City alone. Tragically, our home state has already experienced at least 10,000 deaths from this outbreak and experts anticipate this number will continue to rise. 

With New York State at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, it is imperative that New York receive all the federal resources available to save lives and protect public health and safety. The costs associated with responding to this public health crisis are astronomical. New York State expects to request billions of additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the DRF in the coming months. If New York State must shoulder the cost of even 25 percent of this massive bill, it could deal a devastating blow to New York’s vibrant economy.

As New York continues to address the escalating outbreak of COVID-19, we urge you to expeditiously grant a waiver that adjusts the current DRF cost-share to provide 100 percent federal funding for New York State’s response to this outbreak. We thank you for your time and attention to this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our staff members with any questions.

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