As Hurricane Irene roared up the East Coast over the weekend, it wasn’t the federal government or federal agencies coming to the rescue of battered citizens, it was the much friendlier “federal family.”
The term was not missed by reporters, with Fox News’ Ed Henry tweeting, “FEMA is like an uncle to me,” The Washington Post’s blog the Federal Eye
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was “making sure that the entire federal family is working as one to support the affected states,” the Post reported. The term also appeared in White House press releases.
However, the term is not new.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, who worked for two Republican governors as director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said in May 2009: “We have to really look at how do we support our local officials through our governors — how we work together as the federal family of agencies for the president and for the secretary in supporting those governors.”
Other agency heads are also fond of the term, but the Post found its first use was in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan by then-FEMA Director Michael Brown.
A year before Hurricane Katrina would cost him his job, Brown said: "FEMA and the federal family are committed to providing assistance where it is needed,” the Post reported.
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