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Sewell, Alabama delegation ask Biden to increase federal for disaster relief

The federal government currently covers 75 percent of eligible costs of FEMA public assistance grants for disaster recovery.

Gov. Kay Ivey is joined by U.S. Sen Katie Britt and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell surveying the storm damage in Selma. Governor's Office/Hal Yeager

In a letter sent to U.S. President Joe Biden, newly elected U.S. Senator for Alabama Katie Britt, joined by fellow U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville and U.S. Representative Terri Sewell, urged an increase in the federal cost share for the FEMA Public Assistance program for debris removal and emergency protective measures to 100 percent.

The demand comes after severe weather tore through communities in Alabama like Autauga County, where at least seven people were killed due to tornados in the area.

“In the aftermath of the severe weather that devastated our communities on January 12, we have seen the very best of our great state – people have banded together to help their fellow Alabamians recover and rebuild,” Britt said in a statement released on Thursday. “We are grateful for the incredible first responders, law enforcement officers, and volunteers who continue to devote their time, talent, and resources to these valiant efforts. While we appreciate the swift, collaborative support thus far offered by President Biden and FEMA, the situation on-the-ground makes it clear that additional federal resources are both warranted and needed as the recovery process moves forward. My office will continue to be in close contact with local, state, and federal officials to see how we can best support affected families, small businesses, and communities.”

On January 15, President Biden declared the stories a major disaster and instructed that federal aid be used in supplement “State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes,” according to a statement released that Sunday.

“While we are immensely grateful for President Biden’s swift approval of a major disaster declaration, additional federal resources are needed to ensure that our communities can fully recover,” Representative Sewell said in a statement on Thursday.. “So many of our municipalities were still recovering from the financial devastation of Hurricanes Zeta and Sally and the COVID-19 pandemic when the January 12 storms tore through our state. I am proud to lead all nine members of the Alabama Delegation in requesting that President Biden increase the federal cost share for FEMA public assistance from 75 percent to 100 percent, and I thank my colleagues for their strong support.”

U.S Sen. Tuberville also asked for swift action on the part of the president.

“As officials and volunteers work around the clock to get Alabamians back on their feet following recent devastating storms, there is still a long road to recovery ahead,” Tuberville said in a statement on Thursday. “I hope President Biden acts swiftly to provide those impacted by the storms with as much support as possible.”

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John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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