The Biden administration is seeking an additional $4 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund in the wake of recent extreme weather, bringing the total it is asking Congress to approve to $16 billion.
The extra funding request announced on Friday is in response to the Maui wildfires, which President Biden signed a major disaster declaration to support recovery efforts, and to Hurricane Idalia, which also required a major disaster declaration.
“Given the intensity of disaster activity around the nation – including fires on Maui, in Louisiana, and across the country, massive flooding in Vermont, and now a major hurricane that hit Florida and the Southeast – the Administration is seeking an additional $4 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF),” an OMB spokesperson said in a statement.
Biden will travel to Florida on Saturday after Idalia, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is in Florida and participated in a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday.
Biden on Thursday visited FEMA headquarters to meet with staff and he had pizza delivered for them. In anticipation of Idalia, Biden approved an emergency declaration for Florida and FEMA has also deployed personnel and resources to the state.
OMB on Friday urged Congress to take swift action to approve the $16 billion in funding.
“The President has been clear that we’re going to stand with communities across the Nation as they recover from disasters for as long as it takes, and the Administration is committed to working with Congress to ensure funding for the DRF is sufficient for recovery needs,” the spokesperson said.
Biden on Thursday pressed Congress to approve his request to replenish the disaster relief fund—when it was $12 billion in funding—while visiting FEMA.
“Some of my colleagues, my former colleagues in the Senate… think that this disaster relief money we’re asking to continue to finish the job so far and have enough money to continue to work to save the American people—their lives, their homes, their well-being—is somehow, not needed,” Biden said.
“We need this disaster relief met, and we need to do it in September, it can’t wait,” he added.
Source: The Hill