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Sens. Warner, Kaine Urge Biden Admin. to Reverse FEMA Decision Not To Reimburse Virginia For Costs Associated with Emergency Declaration on 1/6

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From Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner:

WARNER & KAINE URGE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO REVERSE FEMA DECISION NOT TO REIMBURSE VIRGINIA FOR COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH EMERGENCY DECLARATION ON JANUARY 6th

~ Trump administration’s decision to deny emergency declaration would force Virginia to cover millions in unanticipated costs ~

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to the Biden administration in support of Virginia’s request to reverse the previous administration’s decision to deny Virginia’s emergency declaration under the Stafford Act. Without the emergency declaration, Virginia will have to cover millions in unanticipated costs related to deploying the Virginia National Guard to support securing the United States Capitol during the deadly January 6 riots and through the presidential inauguration.

“We write today in strong support of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s request for an emergency declaration under the provisions of Section 501 (a) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act). This request was made by the Commonwealth due to potential civil unrest associated with the 59th Presidential Inauguration, anticipated demonstration activities in Richmond, Virginia, and other related events from January 6, 2021 to February 4, 2021,” wrote the Senators to President Joe Biden.

On January 6, Virginia declared a state of emergency in order to send nearly 3,000 members of the National Guard for critically needed support to D.C. during the deadly riots at the United States Capitol by President Trump’s supporters. Additionally, with warnings of planned protests at state Capitols across the country leading up to the inauguration and in anticipation of Virginia’s annual “Lobby Day” in Richmond, Virginia National Guard presence was maintained to ensure safety and security. However, on January 17, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Governor Northam’s request to declare a state of emergency under the Stafford Act and denied federal reimbursement for actions taken by Virginia to support securing the Capitol through inauguration.

“In light of Virginia’s critical role in providing support during this period of increased civil unrest, we urge you to approve the Commonwealth’s appeal for an emergency declaration and direct federal assistance with a 100 percent reimbursement. It is evident the Commonwealth’s response to these unprecedented events was instrumental in saving lives, protecting property, and ensuring public safety. These actions came at substantial cost to the Commonwealth and supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to complete this effort,” they concluded.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear President Biden:           

We write today in strong support of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s request for an emergency declaration under the provisions of Section 501 (a) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act). This request was made by the Commonwealth due to potential civil unrest associated with the 59th Presidential Inauguration, anticipated demonstration activities in Richmond, Virginia, and other related events from January 6, 2021 to February 4, 2021. 

On January 14, 2021, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam requested emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program at 100 percent Federal funding for the Commonwealth in light of the unprecedented security environment surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration and the potential for further civil unrest in the District of Columbia and Commonwealth of Virginia. Shockingly, on January 17, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rejected this request – along with a similar request from the State of Maryland. 

We firmly believe that a declaration of emergency is merited and necessary. In response to the attack on the United States Capitol, Virginia law enforcement personnel responded quickly to help secure the Capitol from violent insurrectionists. Nearly 3000 Virginia National Guard personnel were deployed to the District of Columbia to provide security for the 59th Presidential Inauguration and related events. In addition to Virginia’s role in increasing the security posture of the Nation’s Capital, protest activities with an elevated of risk of violence required the Commonwealth to prepare and respond to emergencies beyond the National Capital Region, particularly in Richmond, Virginia. 

In light of Virginia’s critical role in providing support during this period of increased civil unrest, we urge you to approve the Commonwealth’s appeal for an emergency declaration and direct federal assistance with a 100 percent reimbursement. It is evident the Commonwealth’s response to these unprecedented events was instrumental in saving lives, protecting property, and ensuring public safety. These actions came at substantial cost to the Commonwealth and supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to complete this effort.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.                                                                    

Sincerely,

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