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McConnell: Tornado recovery funds a part of funding bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, via YouTube

Senator Mitch McConnell (KY-R) successfully advocated for funding to aid in tornado-related recovery programs in the Fiscal Year 2022 Government Funding bill, a release from his office detailed last week.

The funding from the bill, sent to the president’s desk Friday, will go towards Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster response cost-sharing, United States Department of Agriculture temporary grain storage work and the USDA Communities Facilities Grant Program.

“Last year’s devastating tornado outbreak was one of the worst disasters to ever hit Kentucky. The rebuilding process will take years and I am committed to providing consistent government resources to help complete our recovery,” McConnell said in the release. “This year’s federal funding bill will take an enormous financial burden off Kentucky’s impacted communities, allowing them to focus their attention and budgets on rebuilding. It will also provide critical support for our farmers at a time when they need it most.”

The funding for FEMA will increase their disaster response cost-sharing from 75% to a minimum of 90% for the last five presidentially declared disasters in Kentucky, which leaves recovering communities to cover only 10% of response and rebuilding costs. This list of disasters includes the December tornado outbreak in western and central Kentucky.

The USDA will look for funding to help build temporary grain storage facilities to help western Kentucky recoup storage capacity lost in the tornado outbreak. The focus will be at inland waterway ports.

Additionally, the USDA will be placing priority on western Kentucky areas for improvements in utility services such as libraries, broadband, hospitals and fire departments under the Community Facilities Grant Program. The grant was provided $40 million.

Other appropriations in the bill touted by McConnell includes over a billion dollars in national security related funding going to Kentucky areas, funding to fight substance abuse and funding for farmers.

Lily Burris is a tornado recovery reporter for WKMS, Murray State's NPR Station. Her nine month reporting project is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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