Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the statement below following President Trump’s national emergency declaration to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The national emergency declaration will invoke the Stafford Act, which will enable the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate a national response to COVID-19 and assist state and local governments:
“President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency will provide the government with new authorities and resources that will be critical to limiting the spread of coronavirus in our communities. Given this urgent threat to our public health, we should spare no effort to protect the American people. I urge the administration to target new resources to those who need it most urgently and be fully transparent as it takes action under this new authority.
“I also encourage every Coloradan to heed the advice of our public health officials and medical professionals to help us make it through this difficult period together."
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act (the Stafford Act) grants the president broad authorities to respond to major disasters. The national emergency declaration empowers FEMA to access approximately $40 billion set aside by Congress to mitigate such disasters. This declaration will also allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive or modify certain health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and privacy requirements as necessary to ensure sufficient health care services are available for vulnerable populations.