House Vote to End Emergency Declaration Threatens FEMA Funds for Idaho

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Idaho State Capitol – On Tuesday Aug 25th, the Idaho House of Representatives approved House Concurrent Resolution 1 in the Special Legislative Session that began Monday Aug 24th. If approved by the Idaho Senate, the resolution would end Governor Little’s emergency declaration related to COVID-19.

Without an emergency declaration, Idaho will lose the ability to draw down critical FEMA funds to help Idahoans weather the global pandemic. FEMA funds are currently being used in Idaho to purchase multiple forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). “FEMA funds area lifeline to our state, providing the equipment we need to reopen schools where it is safe, get business back up and running, and protect healthcare workers. The vote on the House Floor showed a complete disregard for the safety of Idahoans and was fiscally irresponsible,”said Representative Lauren Necochea.(D-Boise).“We are facing a dire economic and budget outlook. At this moment we should be leveraging every resource available to help Idahoans, not playing political games.”Representative Brooke Green(D-Boise),who debated in opposition to the resolution,highlighted that “The consequences of revoking this declaration will greatly impact our ability to provide critical resources such as PPE for our long-term care facilities and hospitals. Critical resources can be attained and paid for by $117 million available through FEMA, onlyif a declaration is in place.Without this declaration and assistance from FEMA, the full burden of fighting this crisis will rest on Idaho taxpayers.”“Today, Republican House members overwhelmingly chose to make a political point with their vote instead of considering the very real impacts on Idahoans,” said Representative Sally Toone(D-Gooding). “It takes courage, as debate on the floor indicated,to uphold the Idaho’s Constitution. We may not agree with every decision the governor has made, but the Constitution does not allow us to take up this resolution because it was not what we were called to do in the special legislative session. Courage was lacking today.”