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Rep. Calvert expresses frustration with Biden Admin’s delays in approving disaster aid for Tropical Storm Hilary

Aerials show homes covered in mud after Tropical Storm Hilary (8/21/23)
Aerials show homes covered in mud after Tropical Storm Hilary (8/21/23)

Local Congressman Ken Calvert issued a statement expressing his frustration with the Biden Administration's delay in approving a major disaster declaration in response to the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary.

“Two months have now passed since the state of California officially requested a major disaster declaration from the Biden Administration to provide relief from the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary, which caused significant damage throughout the Coachella Valley. While President Biden found the time to travel to California and hold a political fundraiser here this week, he and his Administration have not found the time to approve California’s disaster declaration request. I know I speak on behalf of many of our impacted residents and communities in expressing my frustration and disappointment with the Biden Administration’s inaction. As I have done in person at the White House, in letters, and over the phone – I urge the Biden Administration to approve California’s major disaster declaration to provide relief to impacted families, businesses and communities.” 

- Congressman Ken Calvert

Local Congressman Raul Ruiz's office told News Channel 3 that they remained in contact with the Biden Administration urging them to make the disaster declaration for the area.

The storm hit the region hard on Aug. 20. The damage left from Tropical Storm Hilary was estimated at more than $126 million throughout all of Riverside County. Rainfall rates approached a 50-year storm for the Coachella Valley floor areas and in excess to a 1,000 year event in some mountain canyon areas.

The Power of Water: In-depth look at the water and mud flow damage from Tropical Storm Hilary

The storm also caused massive damage to homes, some left buried in several feet of mud, train tracks, and roads, including portions of Interstate 10 and major roads in Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs.

Days after the storm, local Congressmen Calvert and Raul Ruiz urged President Joe Biden to declare federal disaster.

On Sept. 14, Governor Gavin Newsom sent a request to President Joe Biden for a major disaster declaration for the State of California as a result of Tropical Storm Hilary.

On Sept. 19, both Calvert and Ruiz, along with U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and the late Dianne Feinstein, led the entire California delegation in signing a letter calling on the Biden Administration to grant California’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to the ongoing impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary.

Biden did sign one request related to Tropical Storm Hilary for the Coachella Valley. On Oct. 19, Biden approved federal disaster assistance to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

A spokesperson for Rep. Calvert said at the time that they believed both California’s request and Agua Caliente’s request were made on the same date. They believe California's request could be taking longer as it was more complex due to the number of counties involved.

Stay with News Channel 3 for any new developments.

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joe biden
ken calvert
major disaster declaration
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Jesus Reyes


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