Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today applauded the release of $106 million in disaster funding to West Virginia. Senator Manchin authored the provision requiring these funds to be released by the end of the month in the disaster relief package that was signed into law on June 6th. Congress initially approved this funding for West Virginia in February 2018 through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. However, due to bureaucratic red tape, these funds did not get released until today.
“I’m relieved the Administration finally heeded my calls and released this desperately needed funding to the people of West Virginia and other areas of the country that are still rebuilding and recovering from horrible natural disasters. This funding will allow us to rebuild smarter and stronger and reduce the potential future catastrophic flooding in this area,” said Senator Manchin.
On April 4, 2019, Senator Manchin secured a commitment from HUD Secretary Ben Carson that these funds would be released by May 1, 2019. Unfortunately, despite that commitment, no funding was released.
On May 9th, Senator Manchin introduced the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act (S. 1415) with Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) to require the release of $16 billion in long-awaited disaster relief funding, including the $106 million still owed to West Virginia.
On May 14th, Senator Manchin spoke with Mr. Russell Vought, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and urged him to release these funds in a timely and expeditious manner. Mr. Vought could not provide a timeline for the release of these funds, making legislation the only viable path forward.
On May 23rd, the United States Senate passed the disaster supplemental appropriations package that included Senator Manchin’s Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act (S. 1415) requiring the release of the $106 million owed to West Virginia.