Exhibit A of what can be accomplished when members of Congress work together across that wide party aisle: For two months Pennsylvania Democrats and Republicans implored FEMA to reimburse the state for its Hurricane Sandy preparation efforts. Late Thursday, after much back and forth, the Obama administration obliged.
There were meetings and phone calls to top FEMA officials. There were letters written. Both U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, a Democrat and Pat Toomey, a Republican, as well as U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Mike Fitzpatrick, both Republicans, and others, engaged in such activities to get Pennsylvania major disaster declaration so it could receive money back that the state outlayed ahead of the late October 2012 Superstorm.
"The Commonwealth and local municipalities went to great efforts to minimize the amount of damage and it is welcome news that the Administration recognizes the extraordinary work our first responders did to prepare for the storm," said Casey, who helped lead the effort.
In November, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett estimated that the cost to the state would exceed $10 million.
In a release, FEMA said federal funding is now available for all mitigation efforts across Pennsylvania. And federal funding is also available for repair and replacement of areas damaged by Sandy, including those in Northampton County.
While Pennsylvania wasn't nearly as hard hit as New York or New Jersey, the state heeded FEMA's advice and prepared for a major disaster. Corbett and Pennsylvania lawmakers have argued that the state should still be reimbursed even though the damage wasn't as terrible as it could have been.