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San Benito
May 28, 2024

Panetta co-sponsors FEMA relief act to ease local disaster burdens

Courtesy of Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s Office:

The House unanimously passed the Congressman Panetta-cosponsored (D-Carmel Valley) FEMA Assistance Relief Act, to ease financial burdens for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments that have received FEMA disaster assistance for emergencies, such as wildfires, in 2020.  Currently, governments receiving FEMA disaster assistance under the Stafford Act are responsible for 25% of associated costs.  H.R. 8266 adjusts this federal cost share to ensure communities have the resources necessary to respond to crises along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Congressman Panetta introduced H.R. 8266 with Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Dina Titus (NV-01), Nita Lowey (NY-17), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) in September. 

“COVID-19 has further compounded the challenges the Central Coast faces as we endure a difficult wildfire season,” said Congressman Panetta.  “My colleagues and I introduced the FEMA Assistance Relief Act to lower financial hurdles, so local leaders can better direct critical resources within our communities in times of crisis.  I commend the passage of our legislation and urge my Senate colleagues to bring it to an immediate vote to improve response and recovery at home and nationwide.”

Specifically, the FEMA Assistance Relief Act:

  • Adjusts the FEMA cost share for all Emergencies and Major Disasters declared in calendar year 2020 to not less than 90 percent Federal and 10 percent non-Federal, up from the typical 75 percent Federal and 25 percent non-Federal;
  • Adjusts the FEMA cost share for all COVID-19 related Emergency and Major Disaster declarations to 100 percent Federal; and
  • Clarifies to FEMA that under the COVID-19 declarations, the Agency may—and Congress expects—FEMA to cover certain expenses for reimbursement, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and other services for public schools, public transit, and courthouses.  This comes on the heels of the Trump administration pulling funding for critical supplies, like PPE and disinfecting schools.