The Federal Emergency Management Agency is running out of money, and a new political and fiscal climate could prevent it from getting money it needs to fight natural disasters.
FEMA may run out of money needed to respond to disasters in the next few weeks, and Republicans, who control the House, say they won't approve additional funding without equivalent cuts elsewhere, according to The Washington Post.
Republicans say Congress will approve more FEMA funding. But given the current political atmosphere, discussions could be much like the recent acrimonious and protracted debt ceiling squabble.
Democrats are already accusing Republicans of holding federal aid to hurricane victims hostage, according to the Post.
With much less than $1 billion, FEMA plans to postpone some payments to local governments and individuals. FEMA has also stopped considering new requests for permanent repair work in previous disaster zones, including Joplin, Mo., which was hit by a monster tornado this summer, according to the Kansas City Star.
Congressional members from Missouri are furious.
"Recovery from hurricane damage on the East Coast must not come at the expense of Missouri’s rebuilding efforts," said Republican Senator Roy Blunt, in a statement. If FEMA can’t fulfill its promise to our state because we have other disasters, that’s unacceptable."
Congress typically gives FEMA extra money, or supplementary funding, every year. House Republicans approved $2.65 billion of FEMA funding for fiscal year 2012, plus $1 billion in funding for this year.
|President Barack Obama
(Getty Images photo)
Although House Republicans approved more disaster relief funding than President Barack Obama requested, they cut money from other FEMA programs moved funding for a program used to lend money to car makers to build energy efficient cars.
Senate Democrats object to both those measures, the Post reports. The Republican plan, they say, would cut funding to victims of other disasters and reduce FEMA's ability to respond to future disasters.
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