Illinois’ Federal Delegation Skeptical About FEMA Help After Last Week’s Tornadoes

Illinois’ Federal Delegation Skeptical About FEMA Help After Last Week’s Tornadoes

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (IRN) — Illinois residents shouldn’t count on federal assistance for recovery efforts after the recent tornadoes.

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined others in a tour of Taylorville over the weekend. Both praised the recovery efforts.

When asked about what residents could expect from the federal government, Durbin said he doesn’t promise anything because the way the Federal Emergency Management Agency qualifies areas for assistance starts with a total state headcount and Illinois has more people than all but five other states.

“I never promise, after I visit these sites, having been to many tornado damaged sites before,” he said. “The qualifications for federal funds are extremely limited. The formula is not good for us, those of us from downstate and small-town America.”

Pritzker said he was told the same thing.

“They’re just not going to do it anymore,” he said. “They were reiterating that for all of the new governors. You’ve got to look to your own resources in your own states.”

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville resident, passed a bill into law two months ago that changed the formula for federal aid, but that’s still not a guarantee the city will see federal help. It gives the director of FEMA latitude to consider levels of local damage in considering whether or not to recommend sending federal assistance to an area.