Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday expressed his “shock and disappointment” in the small amount of federal disaster money the Trump administration and Congress authorized in the latest round of funding for Hurricane Matthew recovery in North Carolina – less than 1 percent of what the state requested.
Cooper expressed his dismay in a letter to President Donald Trump, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The governor hoped for more than $900 million in federal relief, an amount the Democratic governor says was a conservative request made in consultation with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, a Huntersville Republican, and U.S. Reps. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill, and David Rouzer, a Republican from Johnston County, along with others in the state’s congressional delegation. Just $6.1 million in federal money was approved this week.
“Families across Eastern North Carolina need help to rebuild and recover, and it is an incredible failure by the Trump Administration and Congressional leaders to turn their backs,” Cooper said in a statement released Wednesday. “Matthew was a historic storm and we are still working every day to help families return home and rebuild their communities.
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“North Carolinians affected by this storm cannot be ignored by the Trump Administration and Congressional leadership, and I will continue to work with our Congressional delegation to get North Carolina residents affected by the storm the help they deserve.”
Cooper invited the federal officials to visit the state to see the recovery efforts firsthand. Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina on Oct. 8 and caused extensive flooding in eastern North Carolina.
Cooper’s letter calls on the Trump administration and legislative leaders to come up with additional funding, either through an immediate supplemental spending bill or in the next appropriations process. A spokesman for Cooper said the governor will continue to work with the congressional delegation to secure the needed funding.
In December, Tillis led the state’s congressional delegation in securing about $330 million in disaster recovery to help rebuild houses, roads and infrastructure for the state.
To date, $1.4 billion in state and federal funds have been allocated to North Carolina, which includes HUD and Federal Emergency Management Agency money, according to the governor’s office. Cooper has said the storm caused an estimated $4.8 billion in damage.
According to Cooper’s office, the federal funding the state hoped for would go to:
▪ Housing repairs: $166 million for homeowners’ repairs, $63.7 million to repair rental housing, $15.2 million to repair public housing.
▪ Housing elevation: $434 million to buy out property and pay for elevation and reconstruction of nearly 4,000 properties that flooded during the storm and could flood again.
▪ Agriculture: $92.6 million to cover losses the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t cover, such as livestock, equipment and feed.
▪ Public facilities: $43 million to fix public facilities and retrofit storm drains and sewer lines to prevent damage.
▪ Small business: $39 million to help close to 700 small businesses.
▪ Health: $37 million to support health and mental health programs for storm survivors, and to help repair child-care centers and social services agencies.