05-20-20 Colorado Delegation Members Request FEMA Reimburse 100 Percent of Colorado’s Approved COVID-19 Costs

Colorado Delegation Members Request FEMA Reimburse 100 Percent of Colorado’s Approved COVID-19 Costs

DENVER, CO. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Jason Crow (D-CO) are requesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cover 100 percent of approved COVID-19-related costs incurred by the state of Colorado and its city, county, and municipal governments and two federally recognized tribes.

“Local governments at the city, county, and municipal level, and Colorado’s two federally recognized tribes are faced with unanticipated revenue shortfalls on top of unprecedented expenses. As a result, many of them are facing significant financial strain, particularly in light of balanced budget requirements,” wrote the members of the Colorado delegation. “There have been several cases where the Federal government has adjusted its share of recovery costs above the minimum 75 percent. Additionally, FEMA is authorized to provide 100 percent of the share of these costs ‘if warranted by the needs of a disaster’ (44 CFR§ 206.47(d)), a criteria the current pandemic seems to meet. For these reasons, it is imperative that FEMA increase its share of the approved costs associated with COVID-19 to 100 percent so that these governments and tribes are able to function during this national disaster and in the immediate aftermath.”

“Municipalities are grappling with devastating revenue shortfalls, due to businesses being shuttered and restricted,” said Kevin Bommer, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League. “Waiving the local match for FEMA assistance will ensure critical municipal functions like fire and police remain at the highest level of service.”

“Colorado counties have faced significant financial strain as they struggle to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with limited resources,” said John Swartout, Executive Director of Colorado Counties, Inc. “I thank Senators Gardner and Bennet and Congressmen Neguse and Crow in leading the efforts urging FEMA to provide much needed financial relief for counties and other local governments in the state.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Administrator Gaynor,

We write today to request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) begin covering 100 percent of approved costs incurred by the State of Colorado and its city, county, and municipal governments, along with the state’s two federally recognized tribes due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

As you know, President Trump invoked Sec. 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (“the Stafford Act”) for the State of Colorado on March 13, 2020. This allowed governments at all levels in the state and tribes to access federal funds through the FEMA Public Assistance program to reimburse costs incurred due to the emergency, with the Federal government assuming 75 percent of the share. However, as the pandemic continues to ravage our communities, even that much of the federal share is proving insufficient to cover costs.

Local governments at the city, county, and municipal level, and Colorado’s two federally recognized tribes are faced with unanticipated revenue shortfalls on top of unprecedented expenses. As a result, many of them are facing significant financial strain, particularly in light of balanced budget requirements. There have been several cases where the Federal government has adjusted its share of recovery costs above the minimum 75 percent. Additionally, FEMA is authorized to provide 100 percent of the share of these costs “if warranted by the needs of a disaster” (44 CFR§ 206.47(d)), a criteria the current pandemic seems to meet. For these reasons, it is imperative that FEMA increase its share of the approved costs associated with COVID-19 to 100 percent so that these governments and tribes are able to function during this national disaster and in the immediate aftermath.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you and other Federal, state, and local agencies to continue addressing this global pandemic.

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

Michael Bennet is a member of the United States Senate Committees on Finance; Intelligence; and Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.