Tags: texas | wildfires | FEMA | debate

Texas Wildfires, Storm Tallies Ramp FEMA Debate

Wednesday, 07 Sep 2011 03:12 PM

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The Democrat-controlled Senate has proposed $6 billion in new funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. The Republican-controlled House has been willing to come up with $3.65 billion so far, The Washington Post reported.

The squabble over how much to put in the fund, which is used to reimburse local governments and others for disaster cleanup and repairs, continues as wildfires spread across Texas and the toll from Hurricane Irene and other storms has yet to be tallied. Republicans also have pressed to have the additional funds offset with other budget cuts, including some to FEMA, the Post reported.

“It’s irresponsible to cut the precise programs that help us prepare for and respond to future disasters in order to pay for past disasters,” Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, told the Post.

House Republicans are crying foul over claims that they are holding disaster relief hostage to spending cuts. “Nobody’s holding anything up,” the Post quoted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as saying. “In fact, it’s the Senate that’s holding the bill up. They’re the ones who haven’t acted. We’ve acted in the House.”

However, the Post quoted him as saying that it is “the responsible thing to do” to pay for the relief by cutting spending elsewhere.

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