Pfluger, Veasey lead bipartisan letter on federal disaster relief for small communities

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Sep. 22—WASHINGTON — On Thursday, a press release detailed U.S. Congressmen August Pfluger (TX-11) and Marc Veasey (TX-33) led a bipartisan letter with 25 Members of the Texas Delegation to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell.

In the letter, the Members ask FEMA to clarify how severe disasters are interpreted, draw attention to the impacts on small communities, and encourage FEMA to re-evaluate the threshold for assistance.

In the letter, the members note that FEMA's lack of clarity and large threshold: "has caused negative economic consequences for the communities we represent. For example, the members of Golden Spread Electric Cooperative — a non-profit electric generation and transmission cooperative based in Texas — recently experienced $15 million in damages stemming from Winter Storm Billy. This storm produced significant icing and strong winds, damaging miles of distribution lines and poles and causing extended power outages. However, since the combined damage (total dollar amount) did not meet Texas' 2020 state threshold ($38.5 million), they did not qualify for FEMA assistance. Because of current policy, vital federal assistance was unable to reach these small communities simply because they are located in a large, populous state. We believe this storm is an example of a disaster that should be declared a major disaster in Texas, despite not exceeding the arbitrary state threshold."

The letter is signed by Representatives August Pfluger, Marc Veasey, Dan Crenshaw, Al Green, Mayra Flores, Colin Allred, Louie Gohmert, Veronica Escobar, Jake Ellzey, Vicente Gonzalez, Lance Gooden, Henry Cuellar, Jodey Arrington, John Carter, Kevin Brady, Michael T. McCaul, Roger Williams, Michael C. Burgess, M.D., Ronny L. Jackson, Kay Granger, Pat Fallon, Michael Cloud, Van Taylor, Lloyd Doggett, and Joaquin Castro.