State Watch

NC governor: Shutdown hurting hurricane recovery efforts


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Wednesday called for an end to the partial federal government shutdown, saying it is hampering hurricane recovery in his state.

“I write on behalf of the State of North Carolina to implore you to cease the federal government shutdown so our state can continue to rebuild from hurricane flood waters and prevent future damage,” Cooper said in a letter to the White House.

“While we continue the short-term recovery help with FEMA’s help, our critical long-term work to rebuild stronger and smarter is delayed with every day that federal funds are held in Washington,” he added, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

{mosads}Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina last September, resulted in more than 40 casualties and flooding that persisted for weeks.

Cooper wrote in his letter than North Carolina cannot access $168 million for mitigation efforts from the Department of Housing and Urban Development until the Federal Register is published.

He also highlighted the risks posed to farmers by the shutdown.

“The government shutdown is also threatening the livelihood of our farmers, many of whom were swamped by the same hurricane waters that destroyed homes and business,” he said. “Help from the US Department of Agriculture for hurricane affected farms is unavailable, and farmers hoping to plan for this year’s planting season are running out of time.”

Cooper finished his letter by urging President Trump to follow through on his commitment to helping Hurricane Florence recovery.

“During your visit following Hurricane Florence, you promised me the 100% support of the federal government in North Carolina’s recovery,” Cooper said. “This shutdown makes that promise harder to keep. Please work with Congressional leaders to end this shutdown so our communities can rebuild quickly and effectively.”

The government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22.

The shutdown began late last year due to an impasse over funding for a wall along the southern border, which Trump repeatedly promised to build — and Mexico would pay for —during his presidential campaign.

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