Whitmer to FEMA: Waive all cost-share requirements during COVID-19

    President Donald J. Trump, joined by Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, attends a briefing Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, on the current directional forecast of Hurricane Dorian at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, citing the strain on state resources resulting from Michigan’s COVID-19 outbreak, has requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) waive all cost-share requirements for federal assistance in Michigan be waived.

    Since President Donald Trump granted a major disaster declaration in late March, state, tribal and local recovery efforts have been supplemented by federal assistance. Emergency work is authorized at 75% federal funding, with state, tribal and local entities being responsible for the remaining 25%.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    In a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor on Thursday, Whitmer argued that the financial strain on Michigan already warrants a full federal cost-share of 100%.

    “FEMA is authorized to increase the federal cost-share to 100 percent for emergency work, including Direct Federal Assistance, ‘if warranted by the needs of a disaster,’” Whitmer wrote in the letter.

    “… I believe that the extreme nature of the necessary COVID-19 response far exceeds the capability of the State of Michigan and warrants the full resources and support of the federal government,” she said.

    Whitmer noted that initial estimates suggest state revenues could be reduced by about 15% as a direct result of emergency measures being taken to halt the spread of COVID-19, and Michigan has already expended more than $234 million to operate the State Emergency Operations Center and continue other COVID-related measures.

    “This pandemic has come at an enormous human, financial, and social cost, one that Michigan alone cannot sustain without further federal assistance,” Whitmer said.

    Laina G. Stebbins
    Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, immigration and criminal justice. She is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or listening to podcasts, she loves art and design, discovering new music, being out in nature and spending time with her two cats Rainn and Remy.