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 Home > News & Policies > October 2001

Federal Response: Examples of Government Action Since September 11
Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

The President and members of Congress from both parties are implementing a $40 billion emergency response package to help deal with the tragic events of September 11. This funding will ensure that the U.S. has the resources to respond to and recover from the attacks and to protect national security.

Billions of dollars have already been released to assist in New York and the other impacted areas -- and more funding is on the way. Examples of the important activities being funded in New York and the other areas include:

Federal Emergency Management Agency, $2 billion: These funds will support overall emergency assistance in New York and other affected jurisdictions. This includes costs associated with debris removal and emergency protective measures, as well as individual and family assistance, search and rescue, and other disaster assistance efforts.

Department of Health and Human Services, $126.2 million: These funds will provide assistance for the health-related needs of the disaster-affected areas of the New York metropolitan area, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

Small Business Administration, $100 million: These funds will support $400 million in low-interest disaster loans for renters, homeowners, and businesses in designated disaster areas.

Department of the Treasury, $48.4 million: These funds will support the immediate response and recovery needs of the approximately 1,000 Treasury employees who were located in or near the World Trade Center complex, most of whose offices were destroyed.

Department of Labor, $29 million: These amounts will provide funding for: the Department of Labor's Dislocated Workers program to provide temporary jobs to assist in clean-up and restoration efforts in New York; assistance to cover immediate information technology and other costs of disaster recovery for unemployment insurance claims processing that need to be relocated; and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's monitoring of health and safety at the disaster sites.

Department of the Interior, $3.1 million: These amounts will provide funding for National Park Service and U.S. Park Police emergency response costs in New York City and Washington, DC, as well as increased security patrols in both cities.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $200,000: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's New York office, which was located in the World Trade Center, will use these funds to purchase computers and office equipment for its temporary space.

Other Examples of Federal Response Activities

Federal Emergency Management Agency: The President has authorized FEMA to provide an unprecedented level of assistance. For example, the President has authorized FEMA to pay for 100 percent of public assistance activities in New York and at the Pentagon (typically, states pay 25 percent of these costs). This marks the first time FEMA will cover the entire share of public assistance expenses. Examples of public assistance activities include debris removal and repair and restoration of public facilities. In addition:

  • FEMA has assigned 11 Federal agencies to respond to the attack. Among the Federal agencies tasked to respond were the Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, USDA Forest Service, Public Health Service, and EPA.
  • FEMA has called up 10 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue task forces from around the Nation to assist in the efforts in New York and Virginia. Urban Search and Rescue task forces are teams of local emergency responders that have specialized FEMA training and equipment for rescuing people in the wake of disasters such as earthquakes and terrorist events.
  • Examples of additional FEMA action:
    • The agency has also been working with local governments on the debris removal efforts.
    • There are currently 3,571 Federal personnel, including 1,596 from FEMA, working in response to these incidents.
    • Through September 27, FEMA had obligated $240.5 million in New York and Virginia.
    • FEMA has established Disaster Field Offices in New York City and Virginia where disaster victims may seeks assistance. FEMA also is operating a toll-free hotline for information and registering disaster victims.
    • Through September 27, 115,756 tons of debris had been removed from the WTC site. The estimate for total debris at the WTC is 1.2 million tons.
    • FEMA is helping city, state, and volunteer organizations organize a long-term strategy for using the millions of dollars in donated funds.
    • Working with the American Red Cross and other volunteer and Federal agencies, FEMA has been providing humanitarian and financial assistance to disaster victims.

Department of Education:

  • Provided $5 million for Rehabilitation Services Administration to help individuals who suffered disabling physical or mental trauma as a result of the WTC attacks, as well as funds to help previously disabled Americans who lost jobs, rehabilitation or other support structures as a result of the attack.
  • Provided $4 million to New York City schools and $1.7 million to New York state schools for Project SERV grants that support counseling and mental health services for affected children.
  • Department of Education also established a loan forgiveness program to help those who live or work in NY City by providing temporary relief from student loan payments.

Department of Labor. Labor is working to ensure the safety of the World Trade Center site for rescue personnel and is providing financial assistance to dislocated workers.

  • Labor has also released $25 million of dislocated worker assistance to the State of New York to create temporary jobs to help with cleanup efforts.
  • About 180 Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) staff have been deployed to provide around-the-clock safety and health assistance.

Department of Justice

  • The President signed into law legislation that will speed payment of $152,000 in compensation to the family of each fallen police officer, firefighter and rescuer through the Public Safety Officers' Benefits program.
  • The President also signed into law a victims compensation benefit program for expeditious payment of compensation to victims or their relatives for losses suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks. The program establishes a special claim process in the Department of Justice.

Health and Human Services (HHS). More than 570 (HHS) personnel are deployed in the New York City area to augment medical personnel assisting victims and recovery workers.

  • HHS mental health services personnel and U.S. Public Health Service reservists are providing services to Federal responders and the public.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deployed personnel to assist the New York City Health Department in patient care and follow-up needs.
  • HHS has also made available about 100 doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to staff two treatment stations to provide round-the-clock medical care to rescue and recovery workers toiling in the aftermath of the attack in New York City.

Small Business Administration (SBA). Along with FEMA and other Federal agencies, SBA’s Disaster Loan Program has set up Disaster Field Offices in New York and Virginia where disaster victims may come for assistance.

  • SBA has sent out 5,677 applications for low-interest disaster loans. SBA has directly assisted 4,598 individuals and businesses with loan applications and other inquiries.
  • SBA has already approved disaster loans totaling $6,052,900.
  • SBA is also conducting information workshops at different locations around New York to reach as many disaster victims as possible.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is monitoring the disaster sites to ensure that rescue workers and the public are not facing dangerous environmental risks.

  • Over 200 EPA personnel have participated in the response to the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
  • EPA has been responsible for cleaning and washing down of all workers, equipment, and resources employed during the rescue stage.
  • The Agency is sampling air, water, and asbestos as well as conducting radiological and dust monitoring.
  • EPA is also vacuuming and cleaning sidewalks, streets, and buildings in the World Trade Center area.

Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). Corps structural engineering teams have been surveying buildings and structures in New York City so the city can assure the safety of search, rescue and debris-removal operations in and around the affected areas. The Corps is also developing a debris operations plan for the New York City. In addition, the Corps is considering potential improvements to a harbor facility for removing debris by barge.

Internal Revenue Service: The IRS and Treasury have extended deadlines for all taxpayers affected by the tragedy.

  • IRS released new information to help the public use charitable organizations and has sped up the processing of requests for tax-exempt status from new charities formed to assist victims of the September 11 attacks.
  • IRS created a special e-mail address for businesses to send their questions to the IRS and get answers about extensions and other relief stemming from the disasters.
  • IRS issued a release reminding taxpayers who suffered property losses because of the September 11 terrorist attacks that they may get a quick tax refund by claiming these losses on an amended return for 2000.