U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-Md.) are urging President Trump to exercise authorities used in the wake of natural disasters to provide direct emergency assistance to individuals and families and waive local cost sharing in order to pump more federal resources into states and communities responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Now, as the entire nation faces the challenges of a global pandemic, we are asking that your administration unlock the full capacity of the federal government so that we can work on the frontlines to save lives and protect our most vulnerable populations,” the senators wrote in a letter to President Trump. “Unfortunately, since the original emergency declaration made last week, cases have only grown more rapidly and the worst is likely still to come.”

Typically, state and local governments are required pay 25% of the total cost.

The senators argued the strain on the American people and local and state governments during this public health emergency is no different than dealing with the impact and aftermath of a natural disaster.

“It is vital that the federal government leverage all of its resources to help state and local governments fight to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19,” the senators

continued. “Increasing the federal cost share for FEMA PA to 100% and unlocking IA for affected families are important steps that will help our nation combat this massive threat.”

The full text of the letter can be found at www.cardin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/20200319%20Ltr%20to%20POTUS%20cost%20sharing.pdf.