NAICU Washington Update

$19 Billion Allocated for Disaster Relief in Bill Signed by the President

June 24, 2019

After months of wrangling, first over additional funds being sent to Puerto Rico, later for border security funds, and, most recently, because some House Republicans wanted the measure passed by roll call vote rather than by unanimous consent, President Trump finally signed a disaster aid bill to assist recovery efforts in areas affected by wildfires, hurricanes and flooding. 

The bill will provide $19.1 billion in relief to states affected by a set of natural disasters in 2018, as well as food benefits and aid to Puerto Rico to help it recover from the devastating 2017 hurricanes. In addition, the measure includes $165 million for education recovery services to meet the educational needs of students in areas affected by disasters.

The disaster aid bill includes funds to repair damaged infrastructure and increase resiliency against future floods and hurricanes. There are also funds to repair military facilities, support farmers who lost crops, and help communities recover and mitigate damages from future violent weather. 

In 2006, Congress restored the eligibility of private, nonprofit colleges to receive FEMA assistance to permanently repair structures damaged during a natural disaster. NAICU, in conjunction with many of its member institutions located in states prone to serious weather-related crises, worked diligently on this legislation for two years.  The result is that college and university leaders are now able to access federal assistance allowing them to rebuild faster and maintain a continuity of services to continue serving their students and communities.

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