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U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton—along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman—wrote to President Joe Biden urging him to support Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ request for an additional 30 days of 100 percent federal cost share for state and local resources as communities continue to clean up from March 31, 2023 severe storms and tornadoes in Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski counties.
“Substantial and widespread damage from the event remains, and we firmly believe an extension of the increased federal cost share is needed. The additional assistance will move rebuilding efforts forward and help Arkansas families and small businesses get back on their feet,” the members wrote.
Governor Sanders requested the extension on Friday for state and local resources spent on debris cleanup and emergency protective measure in Pulaski, Lonoke, and Cross counties.
Previously, the President approved a 30-day cost share for tornado recovery expenses, but as that initial time period comes to a close, affected communities continue to face severe cost burdens.
“It’s clear that we still have a long road ahead for our state, and that cleanup efforts will impose substantial costs on affected communities,” said Governor Sanders. “I’m thankful for the federal government’s prior approval of my 100 percent cost share request, but as that program’s initial thirty days come to an end, Arkansans are still struggling. Today, I’m asking our federal partners to extend the cost share agreement by an additional thirty days to help Arkansas get back on its feet.”
The letter can be found below:
Dear Mr. President,
Thank you again for the expedited Major Disaster Declaration and the 100 percent federal cost share adjustment under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program. We greatly appreciate your assistance and support in the wake of the devastating tornadoes and storms that crossed Arkansas on March 31, 2023.
On behalf of the state of Arkansas, we are writing to support Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ request to extend the adjusted federal cost share for an additional 30-day period for costs associated with FEMA Public Assistance Categories A (Debris) and B (Emergency Protective Measures). Substantial and widespread damage from the event remains, and we firmly believe an extension of the increased federal cost share is needed. The estimated total in the counties for Category A is $24,817,600 and the estimated total for Category B is $15,635,000. In Wynne alone, the two categories are estimated at $21,700,000. Categories A and B make up 56.53 percent of the total estimated damage costs for the entire disaster. The City of Wynne continues to face immense challenges in its recovery and restoration efforts, due to the costs associated with the devastation of the Wynne High School.
As you know, Governor Sanders has activated all emergency resources, and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management continues to coordinate with all appropriate state agencies. Communities across Arkansas have been working tirelessly to clean up and begin to rebuild. The additional assistance will move rebuilding efforts forward and help Arkansas families and small businesses get back on their feet.
The entire Arkansas delegation respectfully requests your swift consideration and approval of this request. Thank you once again for your support. If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.