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    Padilla Leads California Delegation Urging President Biden to Approve New Major Disaster Declaration for California

    As California continues to face a relentless string of atmospheric river events, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18) led a bipartisan effort in Congress urging President Biden to swiftly approve the state’s request for a major disaster declaration. The letter is also signed by all 52 members of the bipartisan California Congressional Delegation.

    In the letter, the lawmakers noted the intensity and severity of the storms and their impact on the state’s roadways, critical infrastructure, homes, and buildings. They also noted that the state has been strained by previous storms and urged the President to approve the state’s request expeditiously.

    “The recent extreme weather events caused widespread flooding, erosion, power outages, and road closures across the state that have threatened the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Californians. The storms damaged and continue to threaten federal and state highways and roads, critical infrastructure, homes, and buildings,” wrote the lawmakers.

    “The severity of these storms requires additional coordination and a wider range of long-term federal recovery programs. Therefore, we urge you to expeditiously approve California’s request for a major disaster declaration and provide all categories of public assistance, individual assistance, and direct federal assistance for all counties set forth in the Governor’s request, along with hazard mitigation statewide,” they concluded.

    This letter follows a successful push earlier this year by Padilla and California lawmakers to get a major disaster declaration approved in the state for previous storms. On January 11, Senator Padilla led a bipartisan letter with 38 California Members of Congress to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt to request expedited support, funding, and other assistance to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in response to the ongoing winter storms that have severely damaged road and highway infrastructure across the state.

    In addition to Padilla and Lofgren, the letter is also signed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), as well as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.-20) and all 52 Members representing the state in the House of Representatives: Reps. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.-33), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Ami Bera (D-Calif.-06), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.-26), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.-41), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.-24), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.-29), Judy Chu (D-Calif.- 28), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.-46), Jim Costa (D-Calif.-21), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-10), John Duarte (R-Calif.-13), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.-16), John Garamendi (D-Calif.-08), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.-27), Robert Garcia (D-Calif.-42), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.-34), Josh Harder (D-Calif.-09), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.-02), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.-48), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.-51), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.-37), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.-17), Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.-03), Young Kim (R-Calif.-40), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.-01), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-12), Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.-36), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.-07), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.-05), Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.-15), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-31), Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.-23), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-19), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.-11), Scott Peters (D-Calif.-50), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-47), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.-25), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.-38), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.-30), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.-32), Michelle Steel (R-Calif.-45), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.-14), Mark Takano (D-Calif.-39), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.-04), Norma Torres (D-Calif.-35), David Valadao (R-Calif.-22), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-52), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.-43).

    Full text of the letter is available here and below:

    Dear President Biden:

    We write in support of the State of California’s request for a major disaster declaration for the recent severe winter storms and atmospheric river systems and ask that you approve it expeditiously. The State has experienced a nearly uninterrupted series of storms since February 21, 2023, and the effects are ongoing.  The intensity and damages of the storms have overwhelmed state resources and require federal assistance, coordination, and action to supplement state and local efforts.

    The recent weather events caused widespread flooding, erosion, power outages, and road closures across the state that have threatened the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Californians. The storms damaged and continue to threaten federal and state highways and roads, critical infrastructure, homes, and buildings.

    Complicating the emergency response effort further, these recent storms brought heavy precipitation and high winds to counties still responding to the effects of the December 2022 storms (FEMA Disaster DR-4683-CA). State and local resources that were already strained due to response and recovery efforts have now been pushed to the limit responding to the current crisis.

    The severity of these storms requires additional coordination and a wider range of long-term federal recovery programs. Therefore, we urge you to expeditiously approve California’s request for a major disaster declaration and provide all categories of public assistance, individual assistance, and direct federal assistance for all counties set forth in the Governor’s request, along with hazard mitigation statewide.

    Sincerely,

    Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)
    Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)https://www.padilla.senate.gov/
    The proud son of immigrants from Mexico, Senator Alex Padilla, believes in giving everyone a fair shot at the American dream. A progressive problem solver, Alex has dedicated his career to finding solutions to the toughest challenges and fighting for communities that are too often left out and left behind.
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