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Schumer, Gillibrand ask Trump for more federal assistance

Democratic Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand urged the Trump administration Tuesday to approve all disaster assistance requested by New York state.

The state received the nation’s first Major Disaster Declaration granted in response to COVID-19. Yet despite the declaration, Public Assistance and Individual Assistance remain under review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In a letter sent to President Trump, the senators stressed the urgent need for approval of additional resources, including access to the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP). These programs would grant New Yorkers greater access to direct housing, unemployment and re-employment, medical, and child care assistance.

“While we are pleased the administration heeded our call to award a Major Disaster Declaration to New York, it is critical now that FEMA approve all the requested Public and Individual Assistance to get New York the dollars it needs to fight the coronavirus,” Schumer said. “We need to do more for New Yorkers who are in desperate need of support while they or their loved ones are affected by this devastating disease. The Trump administration must approve all disaster assistance still under review by FEMA, ASAP.”

“New Yorkers are at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and we must respond to their urgent need for the disaster assistance required to fight this public health crisis and take care of their families,” Gillibrand said. “President Trump’s Major Disaster Declaration left out critical funding and assistance requested by New York State. I urge the current administration to quickly approve the items still under review by FEMA.”

The letter comes after Schumer and Gillibrand successfully pushed for expedited consideration of New York state’s request to the Trump administration for a Major Disaster Declaration. The declaration officially provides the state with federal funding in addition to the over $6 billion for New York the senators secured in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Schumer and Gillibrand argued the declaration is necessary for the fight in the nation’s coronavirus epicenter, especially with hundreds of new confirmed cases since New York state declared a State of Emergency. The declaration unlocks New York state’s access to the full funding of the Disaster Relief Fund and ensures that FEMA has the full resources and authority to address the outbreak in New York.

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