FEMA has enough funding -- for now

Flood victims line up to a FEMA trailer to get assistance in 2011. Flood victims line up to a FEMA trailer to get assistance in 2011. Hans Pennink/AP file photo

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will have sufficient funds for the immediate response to Hurricane Sandy, the agency director said in a conference call Monday, but may need additional resources for long term repairs related to the storm.

The potential cash shortfall could be exacerbated by automatic budget cuts as a result of sequestration, The Washington Post reported. FEMA is scheduled to have $878 million cut from its annual budget of $14.3 billion, according to a White House estimate provided to Congress in August.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the continuing resolution President Obama signed in September will provide his agency with the resources it needs to deal with the immediate aftermath of the storm. “Rebuilding efforts,” however, could require additional money, he said.

Unless the automatic cuts required by the 2011 Budget Control Act are avoided, FEMA will face an 8.2 percent reduction in disaster relief funds, totaling $580 million. Sequestration would force nearly $300 million additional cuts in state and local programs, salaries and expenses, emergency food and shelter and flood hazard mapping, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The cuts would take place over the course of 10 years.

Recent efforts to restore FEMA funding after Hurricane Irene depleted it met with resistance in Congress, where Republicans raised deficit concerns. 

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