WASHINGTON, DC – On May 11, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter asking President Donald Trump to fulfill his commitment to authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover the full costs of New York’s emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“More than 21,600 New Yorkers have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and more than 337,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for the virus,” the Chairwoman wrote. “New York urgently needs federal assistance to combat this unprecedented public health crisis and to prevent more people from being infected, getting sick, and dying.”
On March 13, the President declared a national emergency as a result of the coronavirus, which made states eligible for assistance for at least 75% of the cost of their coronavirus response efforts.
On March 21, Governor Cuomo announced that he was requesting the federal government waive the 25% cost-sharing for New York, explaining that, “if there is any situation where FEMA should waive the 25%, this is the situation.”
After a meeting with the President at the White House on April 21, Governor Cuomo announced that the President had agreed to waive the 25% state match for FEMA:
“The President also agreed, which is a big deal for New York, to waive what’s called the state match for FEMA. Normally a state has to pay 25 percent of the FEMA cost. That would be a cruel irony for New York and adding insult to injury… So, the President agreed to waive that. That’s a very big deal. That’s hundreds of millions of the dollars to the State of New York.”
After this meeting, President Trump stated:
“I’m proud of the relationship my administration has forged with New York and, I can say very honestly, with New York State and New York City. They’ve been terrific to work with. The New York metropolitan area has been the epicenter of the outbreak here in America, and the federal government has spared no expense or resource to get New Yorkers the care they need and the care they deserve.”
However, President Trump still has not authorized FEMA to carry out his pledge.
“New York has been the worst-hit state in the nation, and our citizens cannot afford further delays in receiving the federal funding necessary to combat this public health crisis,” Chairwoman Maloney wrote. “You promised to help, but your commitment has been languishing for weeks in a clouded muddle of bureaucratic inaction. I ask that you provide clear direction—today—to instruct FEMA to make good on your pledge and help the people of New York.”