Three top Republican appropriators are criticizing the White House and the Senate for allowing the nation’s disaster-relief fund to reach “critically low” levels they say could hamper efforts to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and other potential emergencies.
The criticism came in a statement released by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky and subcommittee heads Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri as Irene was crawling up the Eastern Seaboard over the weekend.
The three said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has invoked an “immediate needs” posture in an effort to limit the drain on the $792 million still left in the disaster-relief fund.
“The administration has let the fund reach critically low levels, putting continued recovery at risk, without a plan for the future or a clear method for dealing with new disasters such as the oncoming Hurricane Irene,” Rogers said.
He and his colleagues noted that the House has already passed the Homeland Security appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012 but the Senate has not yet approved the measure.
“The House has done its job to boost FEMA’s resources for ongoing recovery and future disasters, but the Senate is sitting on their hands,” said Emerson. “What’s more, we are in the middle of hurricane season, and with the continued threat of new disasters we risk leaving those already affected in the lurch.”
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