FEMA funds could last through week, averting standoff
September 26th, 2011
03:01 PM ET
3 years ago

FEMA funds could last through week, averting standoff

Washington (CNN) - The congressional standoff over disaster relief funding that is threatening a government shutdown might be resolved as early as Monday night, several Senate Democratic aides told CNN Monday.

The aides said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be able to say it can stretch its depleted funds through the fiscal year – which ends Friday – and new funding kicks in Saturday October 1st.

Exactly when FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund will run out of money has been a moving target. Last week, congressional Democrats and Republicans warned it could be as early as Monday or Tuesday.

However, on Monday morning, a FEMA official told CNN it had $114 million in the fund, which would last until mid-week.

By Monday afternoon, FEMA lengthened its estimate to "close to the end of the week."

If FEMA can make it through the end of week, Senate Democrats say they won't need to pass special funding for disaster relief as part of a temporary government funding measure nor the corresponding cost offsets House Republicans approved but that Senate Democrats oppose.

Instead, Senate Democrats would try to pass a straight funding measure to keep the government operating through November 18th. A senior Senate GOP leadership aide said Senate Republicans would likely go along with such a plan since the need for extra FEMA funding would be moot.

A Senate vote on such a measure could come as early as Monday evening but aides stressed the emerging path out of the nasty political logjam would only be available if FEMA can assure lawmakers it has enough money so that ongoing relief efforts are not disrupted.

A congressional source from one of the states affected by recent disasters told CNN their office has been in close contact with FEMA because of concerns in their state about funding situation and that they were told that – based on the $114 million left to cover disaster costs– "they think that will get them to Friday" the source says. But FEMA stressed that there are a number of variables – a surge in claims, or another disaster" that could impact that number, the source said.

This source says FEMA said– on average dealing with recent events– it has been spending about $30-40 million per day. When FEMA was asked what happens if it runs run out of money, this source says FEMA said it does not have the authority to borrow money and they would "mission assign – direct other agencies to protect life and property." FEMA said it would have to turn to Department of Defense or Homeland Security or others to help with these priorities, the source said.

This congressional source also notes, "It's never been done before."


Filed under: Congress • FEMA
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. thomas

    What about Texas ?

    September 26, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    First it was the country's credit rating and now it is peoples lives the GOP is holding hostage to achieve their agenda for "America to fail"..

    The GOP certainly is a heartless, Godless bunch of "christians".

    September 26, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Mike Dallas

    The tea baggers continue to show how they have turned the word Christian into a slur.

    September 26, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Obama/Biden 2012 -- Because 4 years of FAILURE just isn't enough

    So basically the incompetents running FEMA don't know anything and this whole episode was unnecessary. As if not sending out checks for a day or two was going to be the end of the world. Somebody needs to be fired.

    September 26, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Terry, VA

    There is a need for FEMA as a safety net. But like all government programs it is mismanaged and wastes untold millions in tax payer money. Emergency FEMA budgeted items have always been offset by other Federal budget cuts. For the dumbocraps to say different is a LIE. For the dumbocraps to threaten to shut down the government because they don't want to make adjustments(cuts)to the budget in other areas is ignornant. The dumbocraps want to bankrupt this country for the deadbeats. There is only so much money you can get out of the 50% of us that pay federal taxes. I pay my fair share and much more Obummie. For you idiots that complianed about my name and state not being capitalized and that some how takes away from my posts, your grievance is granted. Have a nice day.

    September 26, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. California Conservative

    House has passed a bill for this, the senate won't even debate it therfore it's obvious it's the democrats being terrorists and holding the country hostage. Reid getting what he wanted, gridlock.

    September 26, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. NC

    We spend 2 billion a week in Afghanstan but politicans won't help those of us that lost everything from natural disasters. We build schools, roads and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanstan but our country is falling into decay. I guess this is what's called fend for yourselves Americans. We are not asking for a handout because we have worked hard all of our lives and paid our more than fair share of taxes, local, state and federal.

    September 26, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "What's next... cheering for a death of the homeless and poor?"

    Smart money is attempts byt he right wing extremists to tie the right to vote to economic status. Conservative jackhole Matthew Vadum is already out there arguing on sites like "American Thinker" that the poor shouldn't be allowed to vote "because they'll just vote to take my money" blah blah nonsense with liberal overuse of the words "masrxist" and "communist" and "unamerican." Look it up and you can peruse the commetn section to see just how sick the right wing really is. Other good bets for conservatives trying to disenfranchise voters that they fear will vote for Dems would be calls for poll taxes, fantasies about debtors prisons, bans on voter registration efforts, raising the voting age, etc. Of course, if you really want to force them to cheer, it's pretty easy...just say something cowboy-ish about guns and immigrants and how you'd introduce the two to each other. That'll have them throwing their undies on the stage.

    September 26, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Terry, VA

    To my friends including Sniffitt.....The tax rates that I talk about is the EFFECTIVE tax rate. I is not the made up rate that Obummie and Buffett state when they LIE about the rates. Capital gains taxes at 15% have already been taxed before as ordinary income tax rates. That is in EFFECT double taxation. Check the IRS if you doubt my word. I am not a spinmaster like Obummie. The IRS will tell you that millionaires pay an EFFFECTIVE tax rate over twice the middle class not INCLUDING capital gain tax.

    September 26, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Blame this shutdown crisis on the Republicans again. Remember, it was Sen. Mitch McConnell who said after the debt ceiling shutdown crisis that hostage taking proved to be an effective weapon, one that they would have to wield again to push their radical agenda of social engineering.

    September 26, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "FEMA funds could last through week, averting standoff"

    You'd think so...but watch how fast the GOP/Teatrolls find some other inane justification for insisting upon more cuts than were agreed upon in the budget battle this past April. The MSM will then help them spread their message to the our corners of the country without ever once mentioning, just as the MSM failed to mention it this time, that the GOP is essentially breaking the deal they made earlier this year. They are faithless flip-flooping back-stabbing welchers.

    September 26, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. LIP

    Well, that is a relief. Now all those bafoons that call themselves "elected by the people" can get back to work and stop politicking. Wouldn't it have been nice if the Democtrats had simply submitted a bill without any attachments and then none of this would have happened and you have to believe that they knew exactly what they were doing.

    September 26, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    In the words of Mapface Perry, we should "pray" that the wildfires in Texas remain under containment, and that no natural disasters assail us between now and the end of the fiscal year.
    Yes folks, we've been reduced to "praying" disasters away a la Bachmann & her Teletubby Hubby lest we find ourselves unable to come to the aid of fellow Americans in their time of need because the Tearrorists say we can't aford to do so.

    September 26, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Terry, VA wrote:
    Capital gains taxes at 15% have already been taxed before as ordinary income tax rates.
    -------------
    That's not true at all. Taxes are paid on the capital, but capital *gains* taxes are assessed against the *gains* made on the investments, not the invested principal.

    September 26, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Terry VA wrote:
    The tax rates that I talk about is the EFFECTIVE tax rate.
    -------------
    The rates that you cite are imaginary. I believe you cited a figure that someone making $50K would pay less than 10%. Get real. That person is living paycheck to paycheck. They probably pay 5-7% of their gross salary in sales tax alone.

    September 26, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Should FEMA make it into their next fiscal year, thereby being spared the DISCRIMINATING Tearrorist scalpel, I have absolutely no doubt that they will find themselves on the operating table one way or another as the GOTeatards feel that
    anything that is beneficial to average Americans in need, should be done away with. Yet anything that continues to increase the coffers of their already wealthy patrons should be kept even if it is at the expense of the soon-to-be-decimated middle class.

    September 26, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. thomas

    @ Obama/Biden 2012 - Because 4 years of FAILURE just isn't enough and California Conservative

    You are the same guy with two names , who do you work for ? Say hi to Ralph Reed for me !

    Anyway , once again your wrong ! The bill was packed with more republican pork belly crap , look at what you guys stuffed it with !

    It's a FEMA bill , to help those in an emergency , not your corrupt friends and lobbyists !

    September 26, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Terry, VA wrote:
    Emergency FEMA budgeted items have always been offset by other Federal budget cuts. For the dumbocraps to say different is a LIE.
    -------------
    No Democrat said that. The law does clearly state that if FEMA requires additional funds, that cuts would have to be made elsewhere to make up the difference. Yes, the law says that.

    But, that has never before been put into practice. The House has *always* authorized additional revenue to FEMA.

    Republicans are going to get caught with their pants down. America has not forgotten that Sen. McConnell stated after the GOP manufactured debt ceiling crisis that "hostage taking" proved to be quite effective in pushing the conservative agenda. He stated that, "it is a weapon that we will have wield again."

    September 26, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Obama/Biden 2012 -- Because 4 years of FAILURE just isn't enough

    I have absolutely no doubt that they will find themselves on the operating table one way or another as the GOTeatards feel that anything that is beneficial to average Americans in need, should be done away with.
    ==================================================================================================
    More Dominican-Mama-Blama-BS.... We just want it PAID FOR!! I realize you don't pay for anything you get, but this is how it is supposed to work in the real world.

    September 26, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC

    Terry, VA wrote:
    Capital gains taxes at 15% have already been taxed before as ordinary income tax rates.
    -----
    That's not true at all. Taxes are paid on the capital, but capital *gains* taxes are assessed against the *gains* made on the investments, not the invested principal.

    The tax rates that I talk about is the EFFECTIVE tax rate.
    -----
    The rates that you cite are imaginary. I believe you cited a figure that someone making $50K would pay less than 10%. Get real. That person is living paycheck to paycheck. They probably pay 5-7% of their gross salary in sales tax alone.

    -------------------------------------------------–
    Terry from Va you're on.................. Terry? Is Terry still there?! lol!

    September 26, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Capital gains taxes at 15% have already been taxed before as ordinary income tax rates"

    Aaaaah, the "double taxation" myth. Do your research. That line of "reasoning" is total nonsense. I make money. I pay it to a waitress or a caddy or the gas station attendant or the grovery store clerk and guess what...that transaction gets taxed. That corporate income gets taxed. Their pay then gets taxed. Then they turn around and pay for things and the cycle continues. And on and on and on AND GUESS WHAT? THAT'S EXACTLY HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK.

    The idea that capital gains are somehow a special form of income that we simply can't afford to tax like thge rest of the universe of income types is complete hogwash. It's a purposely fabricated ideological myth invented by the people who stood to gain the most from spreading it and getting tinfoil hat wearing conservative basers to run around demanding that reality conform to it. It's right up there with the accuracy of the "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme" nonsense.

    September 26, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "The IRS will tell you that millionaires pay an EFFFECTIVE tax rate over twice the middle class not INCLUDING capital gain tax."

    Ummm...no they won't. You clearly don't understand what an effective tax rate is. You can't exclude capital gains in order to arrive at what someone is paying as an effective tax rate on their personal income. It doesn't work like that. Furthermore, it's mathematically impossible for someone paying in the highest bracket to be paying an effective rate higher than your average middle-class individual. Moreover, if what you're trying to whine about is the fact that the extremely rich pay a larger percentage of the total tax that is collected, that's indeed true and it is DESPITE the fact that they are frequently paying a lower effective rate on their personal income than your average middle-class individual. The reason they pay a seemingly large share of the total income tax collected is simple: THEY'RE THE ONES MAKING ALL THE MONEY AND NOT LETTING ANYONE ELSE HAVE ANY OF IT. The last 3 decades have seen their incomes explode and their share of the total national annual income skyrocket while middle-class salaries remained stagnant and failed to compete with inflation. THAT is why they pay what appears to be a large share of the total taxes collected, but it doesn't change the fact that they are also paying lower individual rates than middle-class americans on what they're earning.

    September 26, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |