North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Wednesday implored President Donald Trump to end the partial government shutdown in order to unlock funds meant to help the battered state recover from a destructive hurricane season.
The shutdown, which began Dec. 22, poses a significant risk to North Carolina’s farming economy and its ability to rebuild after deadly Hurricane Florence pummeled the state in September, Cooper wrote in a letter to the president.
“The people of North Carolina are strong and are working hard to rebuild,” Cooper wrote. “But we are equally determined to hold the federal government to its promise of help.”
“During your visit following Hurricane Florence, you promised me the 100 percent support of the federal government in North Carolina’s recovery,” the letter continued. “This shutdown makes that promise harder to keep. Please work with Congressional leaders to end this shutdown so our communities can rebuild quickly and effectively.”
Florence left 41 people dead in North Carolina and dumped an estimated 8 trillion gallons of water, flooding homes and businesses across the state. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in September designated $1.68 billion for states impacted by 2018 storms, but hasn’t notified those states about how much funding they will receive, Cooper wrote.
Additionally, HUD awarded North Carolina $168 million last April to make the state’s flood-prone areas safer, but the state is unable to use those funds until guidance is published in the Federal Register, which cannot happen during a shutdown, the governor added.
“The government shutdown is also threatening the livelihood of our farmers, many of whom were swamped by the same hurricane waters that destroyed homes and businesses,” Cooper wrote. “Help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for hurricane affected farms is unavailable, and farmers hoping to plan for this year’s planting season are running out of time.”
North Carolina farmers and livestock producers suffered an estimated $1.1 billion in losses due to Florence, which killed at least 5,500 hogs and 4.1 million chickens and turkeys, the state’s Department of Agriculture announced in September.
The weekslong budget impasse centers on Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Several agencies, including the USDA and the Department of Homeland Security, have been affected by the shutdown. About 800,000 federal workers across the country have been furloughed or, if deemed essential, continue to work without pay.
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Read Cooper’s letter to Trump below: