N.H. Congressional Delegation Calls on President Trump to Approve State’s Request for Full Reimbursement of COVID-19 FEMA-Funded Projects

April 18, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shahen and Maggie Hassan and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas called on President Trump to approve the state’s request for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fully reimburse costs that the state incurs under FEMA Public Assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FEMA is reimbursing states for 75 percent of costs under the FEMA Public Assistance program, but the law allows FEMA to cover the full cost of emergency work for Major Disaster Declarations with extraordinary impact. As the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation writes, “This global pandemic is unprecedented, as is the lengthy and sustained response it requires of emergency management officials at all levels. It is critical that New Hampshire receives the full support of the federal government as it works to save lives.”

Many New Hampshire communities cannot afford the current cost share of covering 25 percent of critical emergency work. “Our state and local partners on the front line of this crisis have committed significant resources toward slowing the spread of COVID-19…. However, the demands of responding to this global pandemic have already outstripped many of the capabilities and resources of the state and local communities. New Hampshire communities, particularly small towns with small budgets, are making difficult operational decisions driven in part by whether they will be able to afford the 25 percent cost share.”

The letter follows up on the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation’s previous call for the President to approve a Major Disaster Declaration for New Hampshire, which the President granted earlier this month.

Read the delegation letter here or below:

Dear President Trump:

We write in support of the State of New Hampshire’s April 11th request for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase the federal cost share for emergency work and Direct Federal Assistance from 75 percent to 100 percent for costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our state and local partners on the front line of this crisis have committed significant resources toward slowing the spread of COVID-19. As this crisis continues, we appreciate that FEMA has assigned more personnel and resources toward expediting the paperwork review so that states quickly receive Public Assistance reimbursements. However, the demands of responding to this global pandemic have already outstripped many of the capabilities and resources of the state and local communities. New Hampshire communities, particularly small towns with small budgets, are making difficult operational decisions driven in part by whether they will be able to afford the 25 percent cost share.

FEMA has historically waived the state cost share requirement for Major Disaster Declarations with an extraordinary impact. This global pandemic is unprecedented, as is the lengthy and sustained response it requires of emergency management officials at all levels. It is critical that New Hampshire receives the full support of the federal government as it works to save lives.

We recognize that the scale of this public health crisis also challenges federal resources. That is why Congress added $45 billion to the Disaster Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The additional funding should ensure that FEMA has the money it needs to provide full assistance to state and local governments.

We urge you, therefore, to waive the State of New Hampshire’s cost share for Public Assistance related to COVID-19 by increasing the federal cost share from 75 percent to 100 percent. Thank you for your consideration of this request during this ongoing crisis, and please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.