Tennessee’s congressional delegation is calling for federal assistance beyond the financial aid available through the Federal Emergency and Management Agency.
In a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, Tennessee’s two U.S senators and nine U.S. representatives requested that funds for flood victims in 52 Tennessee counties be carved out of the federal Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010.
“Tennesseans are helping themselves and their neighbors, but Tennessee will require federal assistance beyond what current emergency programs' funding can support,” the letter reads.
“Because the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up supplemental appropriations legislation that you have requested on Thursday, it is vital that a request for Tennessee flood relief come from the Office of Management and Budget as quickly as possible.”
Some 18,000 Tennesseans have already registered for federal assistance, and more than $28 million worth of federal aid has been approved. So far, 42 Tennessee counties have been declared disaster areas. The maximum amount of dollars available to flood victims' families through FEMA is $29,900.
During the last few days, several of Obama’s cabinet members have toured areas affected by the region’s historic flood.
Yesterday, Mayor Karl Dean and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper led U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and U.S Commerce Secretary Gary Locke through damaged buildings in downtown Nashville.
Over the weekend, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited Nashville, and on Tuesday, Karen Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, is in town to launch new centers that will be designed to help small businesses rebuild.