News Releases

Led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a bipartisan group of Washington state lawmakers urged President Trump to waive FEMA cost sharing requirements for emergency federal aid in light of COVID-19 

Letter comes in support of waiver request from Governor Inslee to the Trump Administration to help ensure Washington state can continue providing vital public health services in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Lawmakers: “While state and local authorities continue to implement policies and deploy services that are helping to ease the devastating effects of this crisis, federal support is urgently necessary to ensure the continuity and efficacy of these measures” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers from Washington state sent a letter to President Donald Trump pushing him to waive state matching requirements for emergency disaster aid coming to Washington state from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Without this waiver, Washington state would be forced to match a percentage of federal relief funding, a difficult task with state expenses already skyrocketing and revenues shrinking due to the on-going public health emergency. The lawmakers’ request follows a similar request to the Trump Administration from Washington state Governor Jay Inslee on April 30th. Senator Murray was joined on the letter by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as well as Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA, 9th), Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2nd), Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA, 3rd), Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA, 1st), Denny Heck (D-WA, 10th), Derek Kilmer (D-WA, 6th), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7th), and Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA, 8th).

“While state and local authorities continue to implement policies and deploy services that are helping to ease the devastating effects of this crisis, federal support is urgently necessary to ensure the continuity and efficacy of these measures,” the lawmakers wrote. “Waiving applicable cost-shares would provide state and local authorities with the resources and certainty they need to sustain these measures in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic’s exceptional breadth, demands, and duration.”

The lawmakers continued: “Each day of this pandemic, our state faces public health and economic disruption that places compounding strain on Washington and its local, tribal and state governments. Subsequently we urge you to waive all cost-shares, where authorized, and provide 100 percent federal assistance under the Stafford Act for Washington state as soon as possible.”

The lawmakers’ letter requests that the federal government do what it can to alleviate the financial toll this crisis has taken on Washington state’s government so that it can continue providing vital public health services. Washington state has been working hard to stem the spread of COVID-19, incurring more than $450 million in expenses for test kits, N95 respirators, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and other necessary measures to deal with the current pandemic. These expenses are necessary to save lives in Washington state, and federal emergency disaster funding is critical to ensuring that the state can afford necessary public health and other government services.

Read full letter below or HERE.

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

We write in support of Governor Jay Inslee’s April 30, 2020 request to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to waive all cost-share requirements for assistance authorized under the Emergency Declaration issued on March 13, 2020 and the Major Disaster Declaration issued on March 22, 2020 for Washington State in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Governor Inslee’s letter echoes a similar request transmitted by the National Governors Association on behalf of all governors on April 2, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption of normal community functions including lifesaving and life-sustaining services, and essential community services. As of April 29, 2020, Washington state has grappled with 14,327 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 814 fatalities. As of April 30, 2020, the State Emergency Operations Center has also reported $457 million in total expenditures for test kits, N95 respirators, ventilators, personal protective equipment among other related costs to prevent, contain, and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Washington Department of Health has incurred an average cost of $231,000 per day with total non-budgeted costs having exceeded $10 million thus far.

While state and local authorities continue to implement policies and deploy services that are helping to ease the devastating effects of this crisis, federal support is urgently necessary to ensure the continuity and efficacy of these measures. Waiving applicable cost-shares would provide state and local authorities with the resources and certainty they need to sustain these measures in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic’s exceptional breadth, demands, and duration.

Each day of this pandemic, our state faces public health and economic disruption that places compounding strain on Washington and its local, tribal and state governments. Subsequently we urge you to waive all cost-shares, where authorized, and provide 100 percent federal assistance under the Stafford Act for Washington state as soon as possible. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

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