FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has money trouble.It has less than $800-million dollars on hand to get through the end of the fiscal year, when ends September 30th.In the federal government's ledger books, that's not much, especially when you consider that the cost of Hurricane Irene may exceed $10-billion, and the federal government will subsidize part of that.
Irene is estimated to top the list of a year of destructive and expensive disasters this year.There were $9-billion in total losses after tornadoes hit the Southeast/Ohio Valley/Midwest states on April 25-30th. Joplin, Missouri was particularly hard hit in that disaster. About a month later, more tornadoes hit the Midwest/Southeast states causing $7-billion. And then the Southern Plains/Southwest states experience drought, a heatwave, and wildfires in the spring and summer of 2011 costing well over $5-billion.
After assisting with those and other disasters this year, FEMA says it is going to have to postpone some projects that have not been approved for previous disaster clean-up.
FEMA head Craig Fugate said earlier this week, "Going into September, being the peak part of hurricane season, and with Irene, we didn't want to get to the point where we would not have the funds to continue to support the previous impacted survivors as well as respond to the next disaster."
One senior Capitol Hill aide tells Fox that the Obama administration likely will have to ask Congress for more money to fund FEMA's expenses through the end of this fiscal year. And with the economy so tight, that may not be an easy sell.
House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Fox, "We will find the money if there is a need for additional monies. But..those monies are not unlimited. And what we've always said is we offset that."
Meaning spending cuts somewhere else. And that likely is setting up another battle on the Hill for this fall.