DHS Says FEMA Money Transfer Won't Harm Hurricane Relief

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 14, 2018

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency insisted Wednesday that the transfer of almost $10 million of its budget to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not affect the agency's hurricane response and other disaster relief efforts.

"This is a scandal", Merkley, said in a statement Wednesday. His office has shared the file with NPR.

Well, that didn't stop him from pulling almost $10 million from this year's FEMA budget, right at the beginning of hurricane season, to help fund ICE.

To cover the shortfall, DHS "reprogrammed" its financial resources, which is permitted under budget rules. Instead, it was money from an administrative account, and there is $25.6 billion in FEMA Disaster Relief Fund.

Merkley's office provided a Homeland Security transfer and reprogramming notification document that showed the money was transferred. He appeared on MSNBC to discuss the transfer.

Merkley said of the diversion of funds "is just incredibly irresponsible".

In the documents, it is stated FEMA "will curtail training, travel and public engagement in response to the cuts".

The document shows the amount transferred from FEMA to ICE is a sliver of the agency's budget. "ICE could also be forced to reduce its current interior enforcement operations".

The Post noted that ICE asked Congress to place the $1 billion in funding in the continuing resolution.

"We have plenty of resources both monetary, staff and commodities to respond to the unsafe storm that is Hurricane Florence", said administrator Jeff Byard.

Politico, citing three people familiar with the situation, reports that Long used the cars during commutes from his home in North Carolina to Washington and the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general report is now looking into whether or not taxpayer funds had footed Long's bill for travel. "This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster".

DHS officials said the account supports FEMA headquarters operational expenses and can not be used for disaster response.

"Administrator Long and the FEMA workforce are focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and other active tropical systems", Nalepa said in a statement on Twitter in response to the Politico report.

Ray Zaccaro, Merkley's communications director, tells NPR the administration's response has been "defensive and completely fallacious".

No need to wonder what this administration really cares about.

"Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from @fema to immigration enforcement efforts".

"There's perhaps never been a clearer articulation of this administration's priorities than this transfer document: cruelty over compassion".

A spokesman for DHS denied any disaster relief funding was transferred to immigration enforcement.

Doesn't Congress get a say how money is spent?

The department then must notify the chairs of the relevant congressional appropriations subcommittees, who must approve. Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia were the sole decisionmakers. That includes staff, meetings and exercises, he said - all crucial to readiness for the next hurricane season.

The funds redirected from FEMA this summer only covered a small portion of ICE's overspending.

The document suggests the most recent transfers were at least partly a result of "increasing operational demands".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE