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FEMA says disaster fund is low

Some in Congress debate if disaster funding should be limited

WASHINGTON (UPI) | May 27, 2011

As the Midwest and South reel from floods and tornadoes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is running out of funds, officials warn.

FEMA has $2.4 billion in its disaster relief fund to carry it through Sept. 30 and has requested $1.8 billion for fiscal year 2012, starting Oct. 1.

The fund "could be solvent until calendar year 2012, but that will depend on the summer storm season and other factors," Meg Reilly of the Office of Management and Budget told USA Today Thursday.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., chairwoman of the subcommittee that oversees FEMA finances, wrote to her colleagues that "FEMA will have to stop recovery efforts in 50 states in the spring of 2012" unless it gets extra money.

Beyond immediate disaster aid, FEMA funds at least three-quarters of long-term recovery projects like rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads.

If the disaster fund dips below $1 billion, FEMA will approve no more reconstruction projects until it is replenished, Administrator Craig Fugate told the House in April.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee proposed doubling the fund next year to $3.65 billion.

Since 1989, the fund has relied on mid-year infusions for 83 percent of its cash, the Congressional Research Service says.

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.


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