In Bipartisan Letter, Lowey Calls on President Trump to Grant New York’s Major Disaster Declaration Request

September 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee joined by both Democratic and Republican members of the New York delegation, sent a letter today to President Trump, calling on him to immediately grant New York’s major disaster declaration request in order to bring home urgently needed Federal assistance.

“Tropical Storm Isaias hit New York while our communities were working to contain and recover from the health and economic impact of COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Closed roads, disrupted public transit, and nearly 1 million power outages across the state jeopardized food security and access to essential services that New Yorkers rely on.”

The letter addressed to President Trump is below and linked here.


September 9, 2020

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear President Trump,

On September 3, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officially requested that a major disaster declaration be issued for New York State as a result of Tropical Storm Isaias that impacted New York on August 4, 2020. As Members of Congress representing communities directly impacted by the severe winds and heavy rains, we urge you to issue such a declaration as soon as possible.

Tropical Storm Isaias left significant amounts of debris and damage in its wake: road closures, disrupted public transportation services, and disrupted telpehone, cable and internet services that have been essential for New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 920,000 homes and businesses throughout the State experienced power outages.  At a time when more families than ever before are struggling to feed their children, power outages that lasted more than a week further threatened food security.

New York State has deployed significant State and local resources in response to Tropical Storm Isaias across the State’s Emergency Operations Center, the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, State Police, and Municipal Emergency Operations Centers.

At least $48 million in infrastructure repair and debris removal costs have been validated for Nassau and Suffolk counties – exceeding both the per capita threshold and the Statewide threshold – and damage assessment evaluations for Dutchess, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, and Westchester counties remain ongoing.

As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that New York residents have reliable electricity, telephone, and internet service. Combined with the challenges already facing municipal budgets statewide, as well as the State’s ongoing recovery from several major disasters in recent years and today’s co-existing pandemic, the extensive damages caused by Tropical Storm Isaias pose a serious threat to New York’s economic recovery. Federal assistance is urgently needed.

On behalf of our constituents, we respectfully urge you to grant Governor Cuomo’s request and immediately deploy federal resources to support New York’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias. We also urge expediting damage assessment evaluations for Dutchess, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, and Westchester counties to support timely assistance, as well as reviews of Tropical Storm Isaias-related damage in other New York counties.

Thank you in advance for your prompt consideration of this request.