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Letter to President George W. Bush, Re: Increase Federal Cost Share for Disaster Assistance

Durbin, Obama and Illinois Delegation Support Request to Increase Federal Cost Share for Disaster Assistance

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Barack Obama (D-IL) joined members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation in supporting Governor Rod Blagojevich's request to increase the federal cost share for disaster assistance from 75 percent to 90 percent following the historic levels of flooding in the Midwest. Earlier today, the Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin sent a letter to President Bush requesting this increase in light of enormous social and economic impact the flooding is having on the four states and local communities.

"In 1993, a 90%-10% federal-state cost share for Public Assistance played a major role in helping Illinois recover. Flooding this year has exceeded the ability of state and local governments to respond to the most recent disaster." the Illinois members wrote. "Illinois alone has experienced five major floods in the past ten months, three of which have resulted in major disaster declarations. The most recent floods have caused millions of dollars in damage as near-record water levels breached levees, flooded tens of thousands of acres in farmland, and destroyed homes, businesses, and critical public infrastructure."

Illinois Congressional Delegation members signing on to today's letter include Representative Melissa Bean (D-IL), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Phil Hare (D-IL), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and John Shimkus (R-IL).

Text of the letter appears below:

June 24, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the historic flooding currently affecting the Midwest, we write to support Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's request for a reduction in the federal-state cost share from 75%-25% to 90%-10% for Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Mitigation.

The recent storms and subsequent flooding of the Mississippi River and its tributaries have devastated many communities in the Midwest, recalling the widespread damage from the Great Flood of 1993. Illinois alone has experienced five major floods in the past ten months, three of which have resulted in major disaster declarations. The most recent floods have caused millions of dollars in damage as near-record water levels breached levees, flooded tens of thousands of acres in farmland, and destroyed homes, businesses, and critical public infrastructure.

In 1993, a 90%-10% federal-state cost share for Public Assistance played a major role in helping Illinois recover. Flooding this year has exceeded the ability of state and local governments to respond to the most recent disaster. We appreciate FEMA's assistance to date and respectfully request that the federal government provide the financial assistance necessary to rebuilding the Midwest and ensuring a successful long-term recovery. We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this urgent request and stand ready to assist in any way appropriate.

Sincerely,

Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator


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