By Lucia Bragg
After nearly a year since President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency, President Joe Biden signed a presidential memorandum that directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide emergency COVID-19 assistance under the declaration at 100% federal cost share.
During this time NCSL has joined the nation’s governors and emergency managers in repeatedly urging the administration to waive the 25% state cost share requirement for assistance under the COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration and subsequent COVID-19 Major Disaster Declarations.
The waiver also applies retroactively to the Jan. 20, 2020, start of the pandemic declarations, saving states billions of dollars in emergency aid.
This assistance—Public Assistance, emergency protective measures—covers the most critical tools states need to slow the spread of the virus, including Emergency Operation Center costs, personal protective equipment, medical equipment, medical facilities, medical non-congregate sheltering, purchase and distribution of food and water, security and law enforcement needs, and more.
NCSL sincerely appreciates the administration taking this needed step. Now more than ever, state legislatures have had to weigh expensive and competing priorities regarding unprecedented demand on unemployment benefits, health supply and staffing shortages, disrupted education systems and limited state resources.
Federal statute provides the FEMA authority to increase the federal cost share to 100% for emergency work if warranted by the needs of a disaster, and few emergencies presented a clearer case for 100% federal coverage as the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more details, check out the memorandum fact sheet.
Lucia Bragg is a senior policy specialist in NCSL's State-Federal Relations Program.