Sullivan Calls for Quick, Equitable Federal Assistance for Alaskans Recovering from Typhoon Merbok

Majority Leader Requested FEMA Cover 100% of Cost-Share for Puerto Rican Recovery from Hurricane Fiona; Sullivan Demands Same 100% Cost-Share Treatment for Alaska

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) spoke on the Senate floor today about the importance of federal disaster relief funds for communities that were recently hit by Typhoon Merbok, one of the strongest storms in Alaska’s history. Preliminary assessments show extensive damage to structures and essential infrastructure throughout the region. 

The Alaska congressional delegation sent a letter Tuesday to President Biden, urging him to immediately approve a federal disaster declaration request from Alaska’s governor, Mike Dunleavy, which the president is expected to do. On Thursday, the delegation sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell asking her to approve Governor Dunleavy’s request to waive the State of Alaska’s cost share for federal individual and public assistance for the typhoon recovery efforts. The request follows a similar request by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Fiona. Further, Sen. Sullivan raised this issue with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, today. FEMA is a subsidiary agency of DHS.

“Whenever there is a bill dealing with disaster relief, regardless of what part of the country it is, I always vote for it,” said Sen. Sullivan. “The reason I do that is because I come from a state that has earthquakes, wildfires, typhoons, and a lot of cold weather. We're tough in Alaska, but every now and then, we're going to need federal help—and now is the time we do.

“I'm putting down a marker to make sure we have fairness as it relates to my constituents. The Majority Leader (Chuck Schumer) was here on the floor recently talking about the impact that Hurricane Fiona was having on Puerto Rico, and we're all thinking about Puerto Rico as well. We want to make sure they're all safe. If that's going to happen at the request of the majority leader, here's what else needs to happen—FEMA must pay 100 percent of the costs in Western Alaska too. 

“So we're all going to work together here in the Senate—whether it is Puerto Rico or Kentucky or Western Alaska. I just want to make sure my constituents know, we have your back here in D.C. We thank you for your resiliency, toughness, and everybody coming together. We'll make sure that whatever the results are in any of these other natural disasters, that Alaska is going to get the same result as well.”

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