Abraham leads Louisiana delegation in asking FEMA for cost-share reduction
WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D, R-Alto, and the Louisiana Congressional delegation on Friday wrote to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Craig Fugate asking for a cost-share reduction for state and local entities in Louisiana that are rebuilding after two floods in 2016.
Joining Dr. Abraham on the letter were Louisiana Sens. David Vitter and Bill Cassidy and Reps. Steve Scalise, John Fleming, M.D., Charles Boustany, M.D., Cedric Richmond and Garret Graves.
Under the law, FEMA splits disaster response and recovery costs with state and local entities at a 75 percent to 25 percent cost-share ratio, with FEMA carrying 75 percent of the financial burden. The delegation’s letter requests that ratio be adjusted to a 90-10 cost-share split, which will lesson the financial burden on state and local entities trying to rebuild.
The letter specifically requests that FEMA consider both the flooding from March that affected northern, central and southern Louisiana and the current flood in southern Louisiana when making its cost-share reduction determination.
“No corner of our state has been spared from flooding this year. The Louisiana Congressional delegation is united in our belief that recovery must be approached holistically as the entire state of Louisiana. We got through the floods together, and Louisiana will be a stronger state if we rebuild together, too,” Dr. Abraham said.
Combining both floods, the entire Fourth Congressional District and 22 of 24 parishes in the Fifth Congressional District have been declared federal disaster areas. In total, 49 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes have been declared federal disaster areas at some point this year. Each of the six congressional districts has had at least one parish flood this year. Some parishes have been affected by both flood events.
Sen. Cassidy said, “Louisiana has suffered tremendously this year, experiencing two federal disasters within just six months. More than half of our state has been somehow affected. That’s why Rep. Abraham and I are asking FEMA to consider both of these disasters as one and to recommend a cost-share adjustment to the President.”
Sen. Vitter said, “Louisiana faces a very long, tough recovery process, and we're encouraging FEMA to consider all that we've been through.”
Rep. Richmond said, “The combination of the March and August flooding events has stretched state and local government’s budget to the breaking point. Any federal response should look at the total effect of these disasters. Adjusting the federal cost share would be positive step towards providing the state and the people of Louisiana the resources they desperately need and deserve.”
Dr. Fleming said, “For the second time this year Louisiana has been hit hard by a massive flood. I’ve seen the devastation up close – both from the flood in March and this historic recent flooding. Given the magnitude of the damage, FEMA should reduce their cost share to help Louisianians get back on their feet again.”
Dr. Boustany said, “The recent flooding in South Louisiana has been historic. Coupled with relief efforts from the March flooding earlier this year, the state’s resources have been stretched dangerously thin. The road to recovery for Louisiana will be long and costly, and we will need all the assistance we can get. I urge the consideration of these devastating disasters together in order to provide timely relief for the thousands of flood victims throughout our state who desperately need it.”