U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller (both D-W.Va.) recently joined 11 other senators from states affected by Hurricane Sandy and asked President Barack Obama to provide additional emergency aid for federal disaster assistance programs.
The senators wrote a letter to Obama, asking him to take swift action so that necessary funds could be obtained to help victims of Sandy recover. They also requested an increased federal share for recovery costs.
“Our strong little state has endured incredible statewide damage from not one, but several major storms in the course of a few months,” Manchin said. “I truly thank my friend Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and this administration for their support to make sure that the people of West Virginia get the help they need to recover from Hurricane Sandy”
Manchin toured Mingo County earlier this month to assess storm damage with U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
“Unfortunately, this is the kind of storm that will take months to recover from, and I know the people in our great state, as well as up and down the East Coast, would appreciate the president adding additional funds for assistance in the 2013 budget to help us rebuild our homes, businesses and communities back to normal,” Manchin said.
“West Virginia has seen the impact of a number of severe storms so far this year,” Rockefeller said. “The wake of these storms has left families without power or water for days if not weeks, and for some it has left them homeless.
“I’m committed to making sure that families get the support they need after such devastating circumstances. State and local governments are already strapped for cash, and we need to step in and responsibly increase the amount of emergency assistance to help these families recover.”
The two West Virginia senators joined Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
The full text of the senators’ letter is as follows:
Dear Mr. President:
As Senators representing states impacted by Superstorm Sandy, we are writing to request that the Administration submit a budget amendment pursuant to the Budget Control Act to provide the necessary funding to robustly support vital federal programs to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of victims of Sandy and other recent disasters. It is critical that this budget amendment be submitted as soon as possible so critical resources can reach impacted communities by the end of the calendar year.
Millions of people along the East Coast were impacted by Superstorm Sandy, which caused extensive damage to public infrastructure, private property and business. Given the enormity of the storm and the fact that state and local governments are already facing tight budgets, we ask that you consider increasing the federal share for Public Assistance for affected states and calculate such adjustments into your request to ensure that combined federal and non-federal funds are sufficient for a full recovery.
Because the storm caused sweeping damage in a variety of ways, the federal response should be comprehensive and include support from multiple programs at different agencies. The federal government has a tradition of providing strong support to help states recover from natural disasters. In addition to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, we request funding for critical disaster relief programs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Economic Development Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Small Business Administration. The amendment should also include funding for damage to federal assets in our states and expenses for federal agencies, where appropriate.
You and your entire Administration have acted decisively and provided tremendous support during this catastrophic storm. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you to continue helping our residents, our communities and our states.
Thank you for considering this request.