Turner, Portman help secure presidential approval of disaster declaration for Ohio

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Ohio on March 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following a bipartisan, bicameral request from U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to the president urging approval of the disaster declaration.

Rep. Turner and Sen. Portman were joined by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in making the request, which opens up a new funding resource through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to financially assist Ohio’s COVID-19 response.

“COVID-19 has created significant and unprecedented challenges for state and local governments, businesses, individuals, and families in Ohio,” wrote the Ohio lawmakers in a March 29 letter. “The state and local governments do not have the capacity to sufficiently respond to this major disaster, and therefore, additional federal assistance is necessary to supplement response and recovery efforts.”

The lawmakers asked President Donald Trump to act swiftly on the request by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Ohio.

The statement from the White House said federal funding is available to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for all areas in the state of Ohio impacted by COVID-19.