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Legislation that would adjust the cost share of federal disaster assistance recently was introduced by top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The FEMA Assistance Relief Act is meant to alleviate financial obligations for states, municipalities and tribal communities that received federal emergency disaster aid via declarations.

Specifically, the bill would adjust certain FEMA cost shares declared in 2020 to not less than 90% federal and 10% nonfederal, according to the background the lawmakers provided.

“Communities across the country — including my district in Oregon — are facing twin crises from climate change-fueled extreme weather events and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor of the bill, and chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “As state, local, tribal and territorial governments see their public health and emergency management capacities stretched thin or exceeded — and as their tax bases dwindle — it is important that the federal government step in to ensure they don’t become financially ruined as a result.”

Lowey

Lowey

Other sponsors include Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee.

“Despite continued urging from Congress and precedent from prior emergencies under past presidents, President [Donald] Trump has failed to step up and relieve astounding state and local cost shares,” she said. “At the intersection of multiple disasters, our bill is critical to saving lives and rebuilding communities.”

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