PHOENIX—Rep. Greg Stanton is pushing the Trump Administration to waive the 25 percent local cost share on FEMA Public Assistance disaster funding, a move that would ease the financial burden of coronavirus response efforts for state, local and tribal governments.

President Trump’s major disaster declaration for the state of Arizona provided much-needed relief in additional federal assistance for state, local and tribal governments—but the assistance requires local entities to provide 25 percent of the funds for eligible work.  Stanton joined many of his colleagues in the House by sending a letter to urge the President to eliminate this shared cost entirely and shift 100 percent of the financial burden to the federal government.

“It is vital the federal government leverage the full weight of its resources to allow state, local, tribal and territorial governments to dedicate their limited resources to outbreak response efforts in their fight against the spread of COVID-19,” the letter wrote.  “Increasing the federal cost share of FEMA Public Assistance provides much-needed relief in additional federal assistance for state, local, tribal and territorial governments. Our request empowers those entities to focus their limited resources on containing and mitigating the virus.”

Boosting the federal government’s share of FEMA assistance will help support those on the front lines saving lives and protecting Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.  It would free up resources that are necessary for other response efforts, including economic relief efforts.  Especially in tribal communities, rural communities, and smaller cities and towns, the current 25 percent local cost share can be a significant hit to already strained budgets—this shift would alleviate the burden.

The House advocated for this change in early versions of the CARES Act, and this is the latest effort to advance it. Jurisdiction over FEMA falls to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which Stanton is a member.

The full letter is available here.