Lowey to help with extra funding

Nov 10, 2018

In-coming Democratic Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Nita Lowey (New York) spoke with me today about providing supplemental disaster funding for recovery in the Marianas. Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund gives substantial assistance to individuals and to rebuild public infrastructure, there are other federal programs that can help us and may need special appropriations. I wrote Governor Torres this week requesting that we work together to formulate a request and I remain hopeful that he will agree. Among programs and agencies from which I think we can reasonably expect assistance and/or which may require supplemental funding are:

  • Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) (Department of Housing and Urban Developement) To address unmet needs in housing and infrastructure and to support economic recovery and tourism.
  • Medicaid. Yutu will reduce Commonwealth resources to match federal funds or make up for loss of Obamacare funding in 2019.
  • Army Corps of Engineers. With only half of Saipan’s water capacity now restored the need to strengthen the system is apparent. Funding a $20 million authorization in the recent America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 could help.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency – Cost-Share Waivers. A waiver of the local matching requirements for FEMA funding.
  • Nutrition Assistance (Department of Agriculture). See, Seeking food aid.
  • Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations, Temporary Emergency Aid for Displaced Students, and  Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) (Department of Education). Funding to help PSS restart school operations, reopen schools, and reenroll students.
  • Emergency Assistance to Institutions of Higher Learning (Department of Education). Funding to assist Northern Marianas College restart operations and reopen to students.
  • Resiliency Provision (Federal Emergency Management Administration). Request for authority to rebuild Marianas infrastructure to incorporate resilient design.
  • Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program. Funding for repair and reconstruction of federal-aid highways.
  • Small  Business Administration Disaster Loan Program. Assurance of adequate funding for this program, already approved for Marianas recovery.
  • Office of Insular Affairs (Department of Interior). Funding for technical assistance and Capital Improvement Project grants beyond the ability of other federal agencies to provide.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs. Assistance to provide veterans medical services, including transportation and medical supplies.
  • National Dislocated Worker Grant (Department of Labor). Additional funding as necessary.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (Department of Labor). Report language urging administrative flexibility for the Commonwealth to comply with the stringent requirements of the program given the lack of an unemployment insurance system.

I will be returning to Washington immediately next week to pursue these disaster funding requests and look forward to working with Ms. Lowey and other members of the new Democratic leadership to ensure the Marianas receives rapid and robust support.