August 07, 2020

Mass. Congressional Delegation Reiterates Request for Trump Administration to Fully Fund COVID-19 Response in Commonwealth

Lawmakers Ask FEMA to Waive Local Cost-Sharing Requirements for Major Disaster Assistance


Text of Letter (PDF)


Boston, MA - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), William Keating (D-MA-09), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) and Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), sent a letter to President Trump to reiterate their request to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to waive all of the traditional cost-share requirements for major disaster assistance for Massachusetts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Following the approval of Massachusetts’ major disaster declaration in March, the lawmakers wrote to President Trump to request FEMA waive all traditional cost-share requirements for major disaster assistance. While the federal disaster funding typically requires a 25% state and local cost-sharing match, states are experiencing unprecedented budget shortfalls and revenue loss due to the pandemic. In Massachusetts, state budget officials are projecting a $2.253 billion shortfall in tax revenue for the year, a 6.5% decline from fiscal year 2019 collections. The federal government has waived these matching costs during other national emergencies, including the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The lawmakers’ original letter requesting President Trump direct FEMA to increase the federal cost-share to one hundred percent, dated April 17, has gone unanswered. 


"On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, its local elected officials, and its residents, we respectfully reiterate our support for you to direct FEMA to increase the federal cost-share to one hundred percent and waive all applicable cost-sharing requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic disaster," the lawmakers wrote.


"Disaster declarations are pivotal in state and municipalities response to emergencies – including public health disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic - and provide critical resources to agencies and organizations doing frontline work to control the spread and mitigate various harms to communities. While we are glad that the federal aid has been made available by the declaration, we remain concerned that the 75/25 percent federal-state cost-share can be prohibitive and hinder the ability of our communities to properly respond to this crisis. "


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Warren has worked to ensure Massachusetts can get the help it needs, including by supporting the state's request for a major disaster declaration. She urged the Trump Administration to take swift, specific action to support Massachusetts by providing personal protective equipment, expanding testing, providing supplemental funding and supporting wraparound services as the Commonwealth combats the spread of the coronavirus disease. She urged FEMA to waive all the traditional cost-share requirements for major disaster assistance.