The Washington Post

Obama signs disaster declaration for District

President Obama signed Tuesday a disaster declaration for the District, which can now apply for millions of dollars in federal funding to help pay for repairs to the Washington National Cathedral and city facilities damaged during the August earthquake.

The president’s declaration covers damage incurred Aug. 23 through 28, according to a news release issued by the White House.

“Federal funding is available to the District of Columbia and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the earthquake in the District of Columbia,” the release said.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) announced last month that he would seek the designation and $7 million for city repairs and an additional $15 million for the historic cathedral.

“This is good news,” Gray said in a statement Tuesday. “I am pleased and want to thank the President for his commitment to assist the District in its recovery efforts as result of the August earthquake.”

Richard Weinberg, a spokesman for the cathedral, said officials were still determining the cathedral’s eligibility for applying to FEMA for funding. But, he said, “Regardless of the Cathedral’s final decision, we are grateful to President Obama for the District’s disaster declaration in response to Mayor Gray’s request.”

Michelle Boorstein is the Post’s religion reporter, where she reports on the busy marketplace of American religion.

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