Tag Archives: FEMA

FEMA: “Not our job to deliver water and food” to Puerto Ricans. Think I am making this up? Wrong!

That was the response Rachel got when FEMA was asked why it has been almost 3 weeks since the last hurricane hit Aibonito, a small town high in the mountains about an hour south of San Juan, and FEMA has yet to deliver a single bottle of water.

FEMA claims the roads aren’t passable,   For the record, when I say “about an hour south” I mean Google Maps puts the drive — right now — at 1 hour and 5 minutes if I take the autopista (highway).  BUT it also says there are portions of the road that are closed.  Soooo you have to take route 173 and that takes 1 hour and 24 minutes.  Maybe Google is wrong, right?  It would be nice if someone on the ground could actually make the trip…. oh wait… what’s that?  The MSNBC film crew already made the trip and it took them “about an hour and a half.”

As the MSNBC video shows, they got there no problem because the road was clear. No bridges out, no trees in the way, no mudslides, no raging rivers.  Not even bad hombres. I realize the last menace would be Mexicans and there shouldn’t be any Mexicans clogging up the roads in Puerto Rico right now. But we all know to the Trump Klan, Puerto Ricans are just Island Mexicans, so they probably worry about that sort of thing.

Presented with the fact of Maddow’s team having video evidence directly contradicting their claims,  FEMA then dropped this bombshell: Apparently, FEMA says it is the mayor’s job to distribute food and water. They are just there to help people fill out paperwork….

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The House waters down Trump Budget cuts…The Senate will water down more…

Conservative’s need to get a reality check….

There WILL be cuts…

But NOT of the magnitude promised by Trump for rightwingnuts….

(This is normal for Republican Presidents actually… Who run on making cuts to programs Democrats support and won’t let go away)

Furthermore more money is gonna have to good to disaster relief for Texas and Florida….

….Many of those proposed cuts were reduced or absent altogether on Thursday as the House passed a $1.2 trillion government-funding package.

The package contains significant cuts to government programs, though not nearly as deep as what the Trump administration had recommended.

“I would say that the bill reflects conservatives’ priorities pretty well, as indicated by the fact that only a small number of Republicans [14] voted against it,” said Molly Reynolds, a governance studies expert at the Brookings Institution.

The funding bills are not expected to become law, but represent a likely starting point for fiscal negotiations between the two parties this fall.

“I see the House omnibus as just the first step in an overall process of coming to an agreement,” Reynolds said.

Trump’s budget, released well before hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated portions of Texas, Louisiana and Florida, would have cut FEMA’s funding by $876 million. Instead, the House voted to increase FEMA’s funding by $39 million. Trump also requested cutting the National Weather Service budget by $62 million, or roughly 6 percent. The House cut $25 million.

The Community Development Block Grant, which many members of Congress noted helps fund Meals on Wheels, were targeted for elimination in the administration’s blueprint. The House cut $100 million, but left $2.9 billion of the funding intact.

Trump’s budget proposal called for eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funded the channel that created “Sesame Street” long before it was sold to HBO. Congress left its funding untouched, and only slashed 3 percent from the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump had also slated for elimination.

On healthcare research, the House approved a whopping $1.1 billion increase for the National Institute of Health. Trump proposed cutting the agency’s funding by $7.5 billion….

More….

Note….

The final Senate vote needs 60 votes, not a simple majority….

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FEMA will NOT apporve more aid for West Texas Fertilzer Plant blast site…

This is gonna get into a nasty fight….

Texas politicians have outspoken in their disdain for the Washington….

They have also gone out of their way to push their state and its low costs to business….

The state now finds itself in a position where they have a large expenditure from a disaster (That they probably could have prevented with stricter safety rules FOR Business) and they are begging the same Federal government they have dissed to bail them out…..

They’ll probably get more money in the end, but the Fed’s ARE gonna make them work for it…..

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied additional aid tied to deadly explosions at a Texas fertilizer plant, a decision ripped Wednesday by local and state officials who accused President Barack Obama of having “gone against his word.”

FEMA’s administrator informed Gov. Rick Perry in a letter Monday that it was denying a request to declare West, Texas — the small town where an April 17 fire led to simultaneous blasts at a fertilizer distribution facility, killing 15 and decimating homes, businesses and more within 37 blocks — a “major disaster” area. The letter noted Obama had previously issued an emergency declaration and other measures that paved the way for some direct federal assistance.

“Based on our review of all of the information available, it has been determined that the remaining costs for permanent work is within the capabilities of the state and affected local governments,” FEMA’s Craig Fugate said. “Accordingly, we have determined that a major disaster declaration is not necessary.”

Perry responded with a statement alluding to Obama’s remarks at a memorial event held days after the explosions that the people of West would not be forgotten.

“We’ll be there even after the cameras leave and after the attention turns elsewhere,” Obama said then. “Your country will remain ever ready to help you recover and rebuild and reclaim your community.”

The Texas governor added Wednesday, “We anticipate the president will hold true to his word and help us work with FEMA to ensure much-needed assistance reaches the community of West.”

Perry’s words were measured compared with those of state Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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Responding to Governors White House Will ask Congress for $55B in Sandy Aid…….

Look for an Emergency Aid package to be passed…..

The action benefits both parties and IS sorely needed….

The issue will be HOW to present the $50 Billion to the public while the two parties are fighting over tax cuts and raising revenue….

…from the New York Times…..

Supporters of the disaster-relief request are proposing that the money not have to be offset, or paid for through spending cuts elsewhere. The administration request is unlikely to propose a way to pay for the aid and Mr. Reid said he did not believe it should require savings elsewhere, but House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio is reserving judgment. If it is not offset, then it would be financed through additional federal debt.

The White House is trying to frame its storm-spending request so as not to conflict with its showdown with Republicans in Congress over broader budget issues, hoping to present it as a separate issue that has little to do with the long-term health of the treasury. Storm relief, once completed, would not be a recurring expenditure like Medicare or military spending. But officials privately acknowledge the timing is problematic.

“We expect to discuss the ongoing support that the federal government continues to provide for affected communities and our state and local partners,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. “The administration has already obligated more than $2.1 billion to support response and recovery efforts.”

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Shaun Donovan, the secretary of housing and urban development, are scheduled to testify before a Senate panel on Wednesday morning, although officials do not expect them to detail what may be in the forthcoming administration spending request.

Republicans eager to preserve what they see as the high ground on spending in their struggle with Mr. Obama may try to avoid approving all of the storm aid right away. Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has privately suggested taking up the aid request in two phases: emergency needs during the current lame-duck session and longer-term recovery requests next year….

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Republican’s Change their minds…Ask for Offsets for Sandy Disaster Aid….

NYC Mayor Bloomberg and , NYS State Governor Cuomo have been the spokespersons for ALL of the state’s getting FEMA and other Federal money…

The total request for money from the Fed’s is $80 Billion…..

Katrina cost $81 Billion….

The cost for Sandy undoubtabilty will go over the Katrina amount in the end since the North East has more homes per square mile than Louisiana and the Gulf States….

House Speaker Boehner orignally indicated offsets would NOT be needed…..

The Democrats will push for the money to be allocated without offsets or ANY strings attached…

Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, signaling that Republicans may revive last year’s battles over offsets to disaster aid relief, says he expects that any package to help Northeast states hit by the superstorm Sandy will have to including matching cuts in spending elsewhere in the federal budget.

“We always help communities during disasters,” he said Wednesday after having met earlier in the day with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is pushing for quick passage of an aid package. “The difference you have got now is that it is going to have to be offset.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he does not expect to have a confrontation with GOP members over aid.

“This is something that I think is important that we do as soon as we can. We want to make sure that the numbers are basically in the ballpark,” the Nevada Democrat said. “I’ve been told that the Republicans in the House agree that this is something that need not be paid for, and I hope that, in fact, is the case because if there were ever an act of God, an emergency, this is it.”

Lawmakers are waiting to see how much the White House will seek for an initial disaster relief package to aid communities hard-hit by Sandy, which devastated portions of coastal New Jersey and metropolitan New York City. Officials from the region said in meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that they want the White House to seek an $80 billion aid package for the region….

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Hurricane Sandy Federal Bill could top $80 Billion for Eastern States…..

The Bill for Sandy probably will top Katrina Federal Aid figure of $81 Billion since the Northeast has more housing per square mile……..

The $80 billion amount is more than all the money that would be saved by ending the Bush-era tax rates for top earners next year. The fight over those rates has proven the major sticking point in talks to avert the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts.

Bloomberg made his request to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who in the past has sought spending cuts to offset disaster aid.

The mayor said that Cantor “understands New York” and its needs but that the GOP leader gave him no commitment that the emergency spending bill would not need to be offset.

Bloomberg said Cantor told him he must consult with his Republican colleagues and examine the disaster aid request before making commitments.

A GOP aide said that Cantor stressed during the meeting that the August debt deal specifically “created a mechanism for budgeting for disasters with the 10-year rolling average.”

Cantor has made clear that needs beyond the $11 billion allotted by the Budget Control Act will be properly considered, the aide said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) received $7 billion in funds at the beginning of October.

It is now down to $5 billion as claims related to Sandy mount, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday.

Under the August 2011 budget deal, FEMA can get $5 billion without offsets.

Schumer said more money is needed immediately for the Army Corps of Engineers, the Transportation Department and Community Development Block Grants to deal with the storm and to mitigate future storm damage.

Because of high home prices and expenses in the New York area, Schumer wants to do away with limits such as a $31,000-per-home cap on repairs.

He said that New York and New Jersey senators met late into Tuesday night with the Obama administration’s point man on the storm, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan. They demanded a “large” supplemental bill that reflects New York’s need for $42 billion and New Jersey’s request for $37 billion.

“There is no doubt this is going to be a hard fight,” Schumer said. “It comes in the middle of strenuous negotiations around the fiscal cliff.”

Schumer said he was working to keep the quest for Sandy aid separate from the talks and to preserve a tradition of not offsetting disaster relief.

Before Thanksgiving, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), the outgoing chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, told The Hill that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told him disaster needs would not need to be offset.

Neither Boehner nor his office has confirmed the Speaker made the commitment….

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Senate votes out a Continuing Resolution bill for seven weeks….Averting shutdown showdown with the House…..

The key to the agreement was FEMA indicating that it could keep running on the funds it had….

(Stretching?)

Until the House gets back in town on next Monday…

The ‘stretching’ means the House won’t have to cut Hybrid Vehicle funds to offset the FEMA  funds infusion….

After blocking one Democratic proposal, the Senate voted, 79 to 12, to approve a straightforward seven-week extension of funding for government agencies that were due to run out of money at the end of Friday, simultaneously replenishing accounts at the Federal Emergency Management Agency that this summer’s string of natural disasters nearly exhausted.

“It shows us the way out,” said Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, who said the plan should be satisfactory to both Democrats and Republicans. “It means we no longer have to fight.”

The discovery by FEMA that it had money for the week was the key to the breakthrough since it eliminated one of the main points of partisan contention: whether to offset a quick infusion of funds to the agency with cuts elsewhere as House Republicans had insisted. Democrats in both the House and Senate had resisted that approach, saying it would set a bad precedent.

While the Senate actions appeared to head off a government shutdown for a second time this year, the embarrassing fight over disaster aid pulled into sharp relief both the enduring, sinewy power of the Tea Party — and its deep impact on fiscal policy through an attempt to set a new template for disaster aid distribution — and Democrats’ revived pugnacity as they press President Obama’s jobs plan through next year’s elections…..

More…….

Photo…..Greg Nash The Hill

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Supplemental Stop-gap funding Bill fails to pass in the House

Here’s a twist…..

The Democrats voted against the bill this time….

Not the Republicans….

The issue is funding for FEMA…

The Republican’s in the House want to tie funding for disaster relief to FEMA with cuts in the funding for hybrid vehicles…

The Democrats do not…

The GOPer’s are in a bit of a hard spot in that they don’t want to be the guys who cut spending to people trying to get their lives back together after

a storm or natural disaster…

This is a 180y from the Deficit /Balanced Budget battle in the House…

(Evan Vucci/AP) – Wednesday’s outcome sends House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his leadership team back to the drawing board as they seek to make sure the government doesn’t shut down next week.

The vote was a significant defeat for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders, who had been confident they could muscle the bill over to the Senate despite protests from both sides of the aisle.

House leaders must now rewrite to appease either Democrats or the right wing of their own party and pass a bill for consideration by the Senate before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, or the government will shut down.

The measure failed 230 to 195. Only six Democrats voted for it, while 182 Democrats voted against. More significantly, 48 Republicans opposed it.

At issue for conservative Republicans was their leadership’s decision to set spending in the bill at a rate of $1.043 trillion for the year, the spending level agreed to in the bitterly contested August deal to raise the debt ceiling.

But many Republicans considered the figure a cap and believed their party should push for deeper cuts at every turn.

“There has to be that moment where we say ‘no,’ this is not what is necessary, and we’re going to have to work for something better,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who opposed the bill.

Democrats, meanwhile, opposed the bill because it offset $1.5 billion of $3.65 billion in disaster relief funding with a cut to a program that loans money to car companies to encourage the production of energy-efficient cars…..

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Ron Paul says ‘No’ to Federal Aid for the states….

Don’t ask Sen. Ron Paul (R – TX) for any disaster aid……

He says ya don’t need it….

Him and Cantor WILL probably get any aid they’d need for THEIR property…

But…..

Later for everyone else, eh?

 

Paul Wants Government to Do Nothing About Hurricane

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary, NBC News reports.

Said Paul: “We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960. I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time.” 

 

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After 5 Years ……Louisiana wins money to rebuild a Hospital damaged by Hurricane Katrina……

Five years!!!

With FEMA fighting to not replace a Hospital damaged by the Countries worst storm in modern history……

 

Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

The waiting room of Charity Hospital in New Orléans, closed since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Charity Hospital in New Orleans in May 2008. The hospital has been closed since it suffered water damage during Hurricane Katrina.

 

Ending one of the longest-running disputes left by Hurricane Katrina, a federal arbitration panel ruled Wednesday that Louisiana would receive $474.8 million — nearly all it had requested — to pay for the replacement of Charity Hospital in New Orleans, which has been closed since the storm.

The ruling is a significant victory for state and city officials, and gives a major boost to plans to replace Charity, a state-owned hospital for the indigent, with a new $1.2 billion academic medical center in the Mid-City neighborhood.

“This is a great week in Louisiana,” Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, exulted in a statement. “First, the Saints’ victory, and now we finally get the funds we need to replace Charity Hospital.”

The plan to build a new Charity has pitted economic development advocates, who hope to transform New Orleans into a biosciences center, against neighborhood preservationists, who oppose the planned destruction of historic houses in Mid-City. The preservationists argue that Charity’s 70-year-old art deco tower downtown could be reoccupied for less money, reinvigorating the central business district in the process.

The state’s ability to afford the new center, which would be built adjacent to a Veterans Affairs hospital, had been linked to the outcome of the arbitration. An additional $300 million has been appropriated by the State Legislature, and the rest is expected to come from the sale of revenue bonds.

State officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been locked in a dispute for more than four years about whether Charity was so damaged that it had to be replaced, and how much Washington would owe.

The state argued that Charity met the federal standard for replacement because damages caused by the 2005 storm amounted to more than half its value. State officials estimated the replacement cost at $491.9 million.

FEMA had projected it would cost $126.1 million to repair Charity, and had offered $150 million to settle the dispute. With the sides making little headway, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, inserted language in the stimulus bill last year to create a binding arbitration process.

The arbitration panel, consisting of three judges from the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, ruled quickly after a weeklong, closed-door hearing in Washington that ended on Jan. 15. The only victory for the emergency management agency was that the judges accepted its slightly lower estimate of the hospital’s replacement cost.

In their ruling, the judges noted that the agency’s officials “were less experienced and less credible” than the consultants hired by the state to assess damage at Charity.

While FEMA questioned whether some of the damage was storm-related, “the witnesses and record offered inadequate support to make the skepticism reasonable,” they wrote.

The panel noted that some of Charity’s systems were operating “at a sub-optimal level” before the hurricane and that the state’s protection of the building after the storm “may not have been perfect.” But it indicated that its ruling had not been a close call.

“It’s unfortunate that it took this long to get to this point, but we’re glad that we’re finally there,” said P. Raymond Lamonica, general counsel for the Louisiana State University System, which would own the newly constructed hospital.

Jack Davis, president of Smart Growth for Louisiana, which opposes the new medical center, said the arbitration ruling should spur the state to rebuild the old Charity, which he said would be faster and less expensive to construct. Among other things, Mr. Davis said, it would save the time and cost of defending lawsuits that have challenged the new site on environmental grounds.

“Sometime soon, it will dawn on the political leadership that they can’t do the big expensive L.S.U. plan,” he said, “and that they’re going to have to settle on $800 million of new hospital, using Charity.”

 

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Hurricane Ida is coming in the Gulf Coast……take care

The storm is currently packing up to 105 mph winds ….the storm warning is for an area from Miss. to Fla……and could effect New Orleans ….the storm could come ashore as early as Tuesday……

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