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In letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Senator Murray criticizes President Trump’s proposed $847 million cuts to state and local FEMA-administered grants

Murray: “Cutting or eliminating FEMA grant programs would place undue constraint on the ability of rural areas to support key emergency management and response functions” 

Murray: Drastic slashes to emergency preparedness funding just another promise to Washington state families broken by President Trump

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney requesting an explanation of President Trump’s proposed $847 million cut to grant programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that would jeopardize emergency preparedness and public safety in communities throughout Washington state. Citing the federal government’s critical role in helping Washington state recover from thirteen federally-declared Major Disasters in the last decade, in her letter Senator Murray sharply questioned Secretary Kelly and Director Mulvaney regarding the administration’s views on disaster preparedness and President Trump’s broken promise to ensure adequate funding for FEMA and other core missions of the Department of Homeland Security.

“Unfortunately, the proposed cuts to FEMA-administered grant programs would diminish the capacity of the State and local governments to mitigate against, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters,” Senator Murray stated in the letter. “Ultimately, reduced capacity at the sub-federal level will lead to the federal government bearing more disaster-related costs in the future, erasing any initial savings achieved by these cuts.”

In recent years, Washington state has benefited from federal investments in local disaster preparedness, including funding for personnel that played pivotal roles in response and recovery efforts surrounding the 2014 Oso mudslide and devastating wildfires in 2014 and 2015. In addition to highlighting the local impact of the administration’s proposed cuts to emergency preparedness, including eliminating funding for critical first responders and emergency managers across Washington state, Sen. Murray also addressed the additional burden President Trump’s budget cuts would place on rural communities during times of crisis:

“Cutting or eliminating FEMA-administered grant programs would place undue constraint on the ability of rural areas to support key emergency management and response functions,” wrote Senator Murray. “If the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget is enacted, how would DHS ensure that adequate levels of public safety, preparedness, and resilience are maintained in rural communities?”

Senator Murray’s letter continued: “Beyond fiscal policy considerations, the federal government first and foremost has a responsibility to protect Americans against natural and man-made threats. These proposed cuts would breach that obligation.”

Read Senator Murray’s full letter to Secretary Kelly and Director Mulvaney here.

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