House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers plans to add desperately needed disaster- relief funding to a massive stopgap spending measure Republicans hope to pass next week to avoid a government shutdown when the 2011 fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
The House passed $1 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund in June as part of the Homeland Security appropriations bill.
But the Senate has yet to clear that bill, and on Monday Senate Republicans blocked a separate attempt by Democrats to fast track a $7 billion emergency aid bill to help victims of recent natural disasters.
The disaster relief fund has only $300 million left, and Rogers, R-Ky., said attaching a package to replenish it to the continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating through November would be the fastest way to address immediate problems caused by Hurricane Irene and other disasters this year.
President Barack Obama has requested $500 million for the relief fund by Sept. 30.
“While the details of the CR are still being worked out, it is clear that this legislation is a timely and efficient way to get critical emergency funds out the door and to the communities and families that have been devastated by recent natural disasters,” Rogers said.
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