Kustoff, Cohen join call for more federal assistance for Tennessee

By , Daily Memphian Published: March 30, 2020 8:43 PM CT

U.S. Reps. David Kustoff and Steve Cohen joined the Tennessee Congressional delegation Monday, March 30, in urging President Donald Trump to approve a request by Gov. Bill Lee for additional federal assistance for Tennessee in the COVID-19 fight.

“The coronavirus has hurt Tennessee’s businesses, families, health care workers, and communities. The virus has placed a significant burden on our state, and to help combat its effects, we must receive additional resources from the federal government. I appreciate my colleagues joining me in signing on to this letter, and I urge President Trump to quickly approve our state’s request,” said Kustoff, a Memphis Republican.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President,

<strong>David Kustoff&nbsp;</strong>

David Kustoff 

On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we are writing to express our support for Governor Bill Lee’s request to declare a major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020.

During the last two weeks, the federal government has approved more than $2 trillion to help keep payroll checks coming, to relieve the financial burden on Americans and to assist states and cities with the cost of and consequences of containing COVID-19. Governor Lee has now asked for further specific assistance under the nation’s disaster relief laws, and we support his request.

The coronavirus pandemic has already forced the state to take unprecedented actions to protect Tennesseans and slow the spread of the virus. As of March 28, there have been 18,388 tests performed, with 1,373 confirmed cases, 6 deaths and 118 hospitalization across 58 counties. We anticipate those numbers will continue to rise.

<strong>Steve Cohen</strong>

Steve Cohen

This disaster has already and will continue to place a significant financial burden on the State, local government, and impacted individuals. Governor Lee has already issued seven Executive Orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including issuing a State of Emergency, deploying 300 members of the Tennessee National Guard to support testing, forming a Coronavirus Task Force to lead Tennessee’s response, prohibiting gatherings of 10 people or more, and prohibited non-essential medical procedures. Additionally, 25 counties and 34 individual cities have also declared a local state of emergency and while schools are closed the Tennessee Department of Education has established 800 sites across the state where children can receive two meals a day.

However, Tennessee needs additional resources. Governor Lee has submitted a request for Public and Individual Assistance, Hazard Mitigation, and approval to federally fund the deployment of Tennessee National Guard members in support of Tennessee’s COVID-19 response, under Title 32.

We strongly urge you to approve Governor Lee’s request, and we hope you will consider our State’s request as soon as possible. Our offices can provide you with any additional information should you have any questions.

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David Kustoff Steve Cohen Gov. Bill Lee
Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a Nashville-based reporter with more than 30 years of journalism experience as a writer, editor and columnist covering the state Legislature and Tennessee politics for The Daily Memphian.


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