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  • FEMA Funding: What Did Harry Reid Know and When Did He Know It?

    By the time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took to the floor Monday to berate Republicans for supposedly blocking emergency disaster aid, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had already announced it did not need the money Reid claimed was being blocked.

    FEMA’s disaster relief fund became a key issue in the continuing resolution the Senate passed Monday night, funding the federal government through Nov. 18. A record number of emergency declarations this year by President Obama stretched FEMA’s fund to the brink.

    Republicans offered an additional $1 billion in disaster aid, but coupled it with cuts to a pair of green energy programs, including one that financed defunct solar company Solyndra. Democrats then accused GOP lawmakers of withholding disaster aid for political purposes.

    A look at the progression of events surrounding the battle over supplemental funding for FEMA shows that Senate Democrats accused Republicans of blocking FEMA funding even after they were informed the funding wasn’t actually needed.

    Here’s a timeline of events dating from August to the Senate’s passage of legislation Monday night.

    Aug. 31: Responding to Republicans’ insistence that any hike in disaster aid funds be offset, FEMA Director Craig Fugate insists that the agency has enough money to sustain operations. “We don’t know what’s coming down the line, but what I do know is we have funds to continue response, rescue operations and immediate needs and that’s been our focus,” Fugate says.

    Sept. 9: President Obama requests $500 million in emergency appropriations for FEMA’s disaster aid funds. Republicans maintain that the money be offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget.

    Sept. 15: The Senate approves a measure offered by Reid to immediately grant FEMA an additional $500 million for disaster aid for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

    Sept. 20: Reid asks the White House whether FEMA actually needs additional funds to sustain its disaster aid operations. “The White House was non-committal,” according to Politico.

    Sept. 22: The House of Representatives approves a continuing resolution that hikes FEMA disaster aid by $1 billion, and offsets the cost with $1.5 billion in cuts to a pair of Energy Department programs.

    Sept. 22: Reid convenes Senate Democrats to discuss their position on the House measure. “The caucus decided it would fight the GOP proposal and try to make the case that the offsets were unfair and would cost jobs,” according to Politico.

    Sept. 23: Reid insists that FEMA “will run out of money on Monday. I repeat: Monday.”

    Sept. 24: Fugate contacts Reid to inform him that the Monday date was inaccurate. Other administration officials reportedly called Reid’s office to express confidence that FEMA could make it through the year.

    Sept. 26, 12:30 p.m.: FEMA confirms that it has the funds to sustain disaster aid operations through the end of the fiscal year. As of Monday morning, it had $114 million on hand for the week, and said it could find another $40 million originally marked for longer-term projects.

    Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m.: Reid takes to the Senate floor to slam Republicans for “block[ing] FEMA from getting the resources it needs to help disaster victims.”

    Sept. 26, 7 p.m.: The Senate passes the continuing resolution with no additional FEMA funding for this fiscal year. Reid says it “will provide suffering Americans from Missouri to Vermont the resources they need to piece their lives back together.”

    The sequence of events raises serious questions that deserve answers, most importantly, What did Obama and Reid know, and when did they know it? Reid’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

    “You kind wonder about FEMA’s credibility on these issues, when they say they’re out of money tomorrow and now they’re out of money at the end of the fiscal year,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) told Politico. “If you can come up with four more days of disaster funding after you said you’d run out, it will be interesting to see how they came up with that four days of funding.”

    Emergency spending, of course, has long been a problem for Washington. Even under President Bush, lawmakers abused the process to attach their own pet projects to war supplementals and disaster aid.

    Writing for Heritage in 2008, Brian Riedl observed, “The emergency designation should be reserved for truly unanticipated national emergencies rather than routine defense and domestic spending. … Unless this abuse is curtailed, ‘emergency’ spending will continue to push the federal budget toward trillion-dollar deficits.”

    Three years and one credit rating downgrade later and these tricks are still being tried.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to FEMA Funding: What Did Harry Reid Know and When Did He Know It?

    1. Slick says:

      There must be others out there besides me who now takes EVERYTHING our elected officials in Washington say with a grain of salt. Who in their right mind believes someone who routinely cries "wolf" on every single issue brought forward?????

      Perhaps this administration does not KNOW the definition of a crisis. Here is one for your consideration: 1) dangerous or worrying time: a situation or period in which things are very uncertain, difficult, or painful, especially a time when action must be taken to avoid complete disaster or breakdown;
      2) critical moment: a time when something very important for the future happens or is decided.

      As Rohm Emanuel said in 2009, one should NEVER let a good "crisis" go to waste, and this is the guiding principle for the progressives. So once again, who in their RIGHT mind believes anything they say when they continually say, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

      Harry Reid is an embarrassment to the Democratic party, and it appears to me if there is a single person responsible on the Senate side for obstructing the work they need to do, it is Harry Reid. Perhaps he and Nancy Pelosi don't understand the consequences of their past and present actions, but I honestly believe that they may gain a greater understanding after November, 2012!!!

      Conservatives . . . four more years of the same "tax and spend" is not ACCEPTABLE . . . get out of your chair, talk to family & friends & acquaintances, and go VOTE!!!!!

      • Lloyd Scallan says:

        Slick – Sorry, but Harry Reid IS the Democratic Party! This is what this political party has become. Listen to any Democrat leader. It's exactly the same party policy, not just Harry Reid.

    2. Mutantone says:

      What is going to hurt them is all the scams that were run against FEMA that paid out money to illegals and others that were no where near the disaster area one case here in Key West showed that there were more than 1,000 false claims that were paid off and the lawyers made a killing doing so. I am sure more will be exposed as the cases develop.

    3. 65corkyw65 says:

      When will the American People learn that these JOKERS in Congress will not tell the truth? They are not working for US they are working for the CAUSE…obama's cause………

    4. dref says:

      Reid….Reid…what the? This guy is refusing to do the responsible thing by offsetting added FEMA spending by ending two very politically motivated "green" programs and yet he accuses the GOP of "political posturing" with emergency relief? Does Reid really think we stupid enough to buy this blatant and pathetic attempt to try and tar others with what he himself is brazenly and openly doing?

      It's times like this I wish Heritage would allow us to use "stronger" language.

    5. MrShorty says:

      Liars, whores, pimps and thieves. These are the 4 attributes that I use to describe the ethical standing of any elected Democrat. Liars – there is at least 1 lie embedded in any statement they make, Whore – they'll sell themselves to the highest bidder, usually a union backed organization, Pimps – they protect their whores with legislation that earns them all money and Thieves – they'll tax anybody and everything that they can.

    6. bludog says:

      Harry Reid is the adult version of Eddy Haskel: SMARMY!!

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Hold on for one minute! On Aug. 31, FEMA director Craig Fugate," insisted the agency had enough money". Yet Obama and Reid wanted an addition 500 million? Then, to prove total incompetence, a Republican questioned FEMA creditability.? It was Obama and Reid's "creditability" that should have been questioned, not FEMA. Has the Repbs party become that incompetent to not recognize who is wasting money we don't need nor have? No wonder the American people has such a low opinion of Congress and this country is in such bad financial shape.

    8. astra543 says:

      I think that as long as the right keeps pushing their obviously failed economic policies, the left will continue to respond in whatever way it can to 'pull back.' One has but to read a variety of economic news to see that the poor and middle-class are weakening while the earnings ceiling for the wealthy rises astronomically.

    9. jweb says:

      Great article…why do they keep trying to pump FEMA with funds? For a government agency on the federal level to say, "Whoa, we have plenty…no more needed!" Doesn't that indicate something? Seriously, what is FEMA really doing? Let's audit the Federal Reserve and FEMA. Make a complete withdrawal from the UN and hold bankers like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to task on many questionable issues. Why is the government storing data and tracking citizens? Let's go after the real criminals here, including Harry (not so scarry) Reid. The elites are afraid of the People. Let's move forward with Liberty while turing back to God through Jesus Christ, just like our Founders. Read their thoughts on Jesus, the Bible, morality, and what gives America stability.

    10. Jeanne Stotler says:

      This is a big joke, for years all the gov't . Bureaus see a surplus in Aug. and rush like H–L to spend it so they can get an increase the next year, no one audits these bureaus expenditures, thus we get $60.00 screwdrivers and $100.00 toilet seats. When bids are accepted, they are all inflated so even the lowest would be higher than we could get on private market. I am not unsure that these bids are full of cronyism and paybacks to political supporters. We need to know the truth, lobbiest, Hollywood etc are the ones running the country with Geo. Soros up in front. Campaign donations to ALL those running needed to be examined carefully. Appointments need to show they didn't give money in order to get their post.

    11. refrig man lv says:

      When are people going to wake up and smell the nasty political odot thay Harry Ried and Nancy Pelosi are creating for our contry? I'm not a big political buff or follower of all the details of everything they do, but I believe the substance I do read and discover about these two that Obama needs to break away from these two and finally start reaching out to honest, ethical and moral advisors with no interest in how much THEY will gain by proposal or deals they put together. I'm a small business owner on the west side of the country ( Nevada more specific) and I'm embarrassed we have sch a loser in the front of all follwers democrats. As a Conservative, I truely hope our President stops being. So one sided because that's against every bit of the Consitution of the United States. Who does our Predident think he is? Definately not a celebrity in my world. I expect more actions not proposal and desire something to create job growth so I can expand my business and offer a life for other familes. I love my country, disappounted with out socialistic agenda directed government.

    12. Perry OK says:

      It takes Heart and Soul to be an AMERICAN. So why do we simply put up with all this rot they are putting out? We the people need to grow a pair ourselves. It is really sad to think that 545 people run (ruin) the lives of 300,000,000 people and they keep getting elected? So we get what We the People elect, good bad or really bad. If you are sitting on your ass getting paid not to work, all your health care is paid, we send you money to help you get by and ect.ect. You are not an AMERICAN you are a LEACH, a blood suck despicable worthless piece of garbage that is pulling the rest of us down. So as long as WE the PEOPLE put up with it, Shut the Hell up and go back to work. The checks are going out day after tomorrow and we have and interest payment due. I suggest we vote all the bass aquard people out and do some real soul-searching about who we want to represent us around the world. Oh by the way, all those bennies you guys have been giving yourselves over the years. They now go to the debt reduction budget, live off of the cream you stole while in office. Yes I still believe in Hanging you if we find out about your crooked deals, so go quietly.

    13. jon says:

      The biggest threat now is EPA, FEMA, a bunch of buracrts, wearing nice uniforms, with name tag's, no construction, no planning just elite Liberal people getting taxpayers money for nothing, they don't build nothing, natta?, lets pretend your bridge was falling down, locally you have engineering companies, you don't need some guy's/gal's from D.C. to design, hire, or have anything to say about how a bridge should be built.
      EPA, these people make it impossible, to build anything, anywhere, anytime, ridiculous rules, environmental stupidity over shadows common sense.
      There is not one construction company in this country that builds bridges, dams, Highway's, etc. that within hours could tell you what that bridge would cost! Than along with permits, plot plan, zoning, permits, unions, than the real problem's begin the EPA sticks their illiterate noses in to it, and it goes down!
      In this day and age, there is no profit in cutting corners, it's easier to build things the right way than to cut corners, construction people don't want their name on a bad bridge, like our military, they don't go over to these countries to see how much we can piss them off, we builders need the Federal Gov't to get rid of EPA, so America can rebuild using local rules/regulation/laws/money's/ etc.
      How many counties, states, are suffering, why whiny liberals EPA parasites, leach off the American taxpayers rich/ middle class, accusing us of not caring about our environment, wish they cared about the U.S.A.

    14. appraiserman says:

      Good grief, after 3 years of these liars, someone is surprised when they lie? What about the BIG LIE coming to destroy America, free healthcare aka OBUMMER-CARE. The GOP jumps back in to their stormy relationship with the demagogues with both feet, full of trust, only to be screwed again. I am starting to think maybe they jumped a little at first, but now the GOP is enjoying it.

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