Bill aims to level playing field for federal disaster aid

By WEEK Producer

January 24, 2014 Updated Jan 25, 2014 at 12:39 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock and Cheri Bustos are pushing to bring fairness to the FEMA disaster declaration process.

This comes after FEMA denied aid tornado ravaged cities like Washington.

On Thursday, representatives introduced a bill aiming to change the FEMA equation used to determine aid for post-disaster public assistance.

Those cities initially spent under the $17.8 million dollar threshold required to receive aid for public assistance.

"What happens now is our communities like Washington and Pekin are figured in with Chicago…very populated, but it hurts the rural community,” said Representative Bustos. “So the bill that we introduced yesterday gives rural communities higher weight when figuring FEMA aid.”

The money would pay or reimburse city for public service expenses like debris clean up, reconstruction and safety.

If signed into law, the bill would be retroactive and include natural disasters from 2013.