Congress debates disaster funding for fiscal year
Fri, 16 Sep 2011 18:52:57 GMT —
Gov. Jay Nixon is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers whose crops wilted this summer amid high temperatures and a lack of rain in much of the state.But for some departments, the money just may not be there to help anymore this year. It will take Joplin residents years to recover fully from the damage wrought by the May tornado. And flood victims in Northwest Missouri are still anxious to get back into business.I had a county commissioner tell me over August that the factory doesn't open until the highway opens, Sen. Roy Blunt said. And the highway doesn't open until flood protection is guaranteed. And flood protection isn't guaranteed until we appropriate, Mr. President, the money."Congress is under pressure to pump quick money into FEMA.The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as I speak, is broke, said Sen. Harry Reid, (D) Nevada.Last Friday, the Obama Whitehouse asked for half a billion dollars in immediate cash to deal with the victims of Hurricane Irene. Senate Republicans put on the brakes.Turning to that subject right now is really not necessary, Sen. Mitch McConnell said. It'll be resolved before the end of the month, resolved in a responsible way.The ultimate target is a $7 billion disaster aid package for the fiscal year that starts October 1. Blunt says Uncle Sam's credibility is on the line.With thousands of acres of Missouri farmland still under water, with communities trying to recover from tornadoes, with commitments that FEMA has told them to move forward on and now suddenly doesn't have the money that they'd already committed, we need to be concerned about that, Blunt said.