MAYFIELD – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was in Mayfield Thursday to speak with local officials about tornado disaster recovery efforts, commending those working on the recovery effort for making “substantial progress” since his last visit in December.
“We are a backup and a resource at the federal level,” McConnell said. “I think the cooperation between federal, state and local authorities … has been quite good, but we do have some snags. One of them I want to mention that’s on everybody’s mind is the 30-day extension and the 90-10 split.”
Gov. Andy Beshear is asking the federal government to extend its full coverage of eligible cleanup and recovery expenses past the initial 30 days that President Joe Biden promised. The 90-10 split means that if Beshear’s request is met, the federal government would pay for 90% of the eligible cleanup and recovery efforts after any possible extension period.
“I support the governor’s request to the president,” McConnell said. “The 90-10 decision hasn’t been made yet, which is pretty much on the minds of all these folks that we’ve been talking to. The 30-day decision is actually made by the governor, and we’re hoping that he’ll make that decision sometime soon.”
The subject of mid-term housing was also discussed.
“Later this week or next, the first of the RVs that have been purchased by the state government that the governor promised earlier will be located here in Mayfield,” Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan said. “I think we’re getting 10 at this time. That is the first step in this temporary housing for us.”
In his press briefing Thursday, Beshear spoke of the 10 RVs the state is sending to Mayfield, saying they would be delivered Friday.
John Brogan, coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), spoke about FEMA’s efforts to get tornado victims into more permanent housing.
“Our team is working very hard,” he said. “We’ve identified eligible survivors. We’re trying to identify resources to make sure that we match those survivors up with the best possible mid-term housing solution for them as they move forward for their permanent housing solution.”
On the subject of housing, McConnell added, “To the extent there’s a gap between those who had some insurance, and, of course, there will be a gap for those who had no insurance and replacement value, some of the money that’s been contributed might well end up helping fill that gap as well.”
During his visit, McConnell also responded to the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement.
“One of the things I liked about him was that he was a vigorous opponent of packing the court – that is, adding members of the court to try and take advantage of some short-term, political gain,” he said. “I really admired… that he believed in the institution, believed it was apolitical.”
Of whomever is nominated to replace Breyer, McConnell vowed, “I’m going to give the president’s nominee, whoever that may be, a fair look and not predict on today, when we don’t even know who the nominee is, how I might vote.”