WASHINGTON, DC – Heeding the request of U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and 33 of his Senate colleagues, President Biden signed a memo this week directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse state, tribal, and local governments for 100 percent of the eligible COVID-19 related expenses that they incurred during the first year of the pandemic.

Senator Reed says this move means the federal government will now provide Rhode Island an additional $32,917,082 to cover the full cost of previously approved activities undertaken to combat COVID-19.

In January, Senator Reed led 33 of his colleagues in a letter urging then President-elect Biden to make this action one of his first upon taking office.  For months, President Trump ignored repeated requests from governors, members of Congress, and local leaders across the country to increase the federal cost share.

“This is great news for Rhode Island and the country.  I thank President Biden for his wise and decisive action.  This is a national emergency and this measure recognizes the burden that states, tribes, and localities have carried to help fight COVID-19.  It will free up resources at the state and local level that can now be used to redouble the effort to save lives and advance economic recovery,” said Senator Reed.

Federal disaster funding requires a 25-percent state and local match.  But in extraordinary cases, the president may authorize FEMA to cover up to 100 percent of eligible costs, if warranted by the extent of the disaster.

This new move by the Biden Administration means FEMA reimbursements, retroactive to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic national emergency, will be adjusted to reflect the 100 percent cost share.

As part of his memorandum, President Biden also instructed FEMA to continue to provide assistance at 100 percent federal cost share, and going forward, to expand the activities eligible for reimbursement to include activities that support the safe opening and operation of eligible schools, child care facilities, health care facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters, and transit systems.  FEMA will develop new implementation guidance to carry out the President’s directives.