FEMA Is Almost Out of Emergency Funds
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FEMA Is Almost Out of Emergency Funds

Agency Runs Short as Giant Hurricane Irma Blasts Through the Caribbean and Heads for Florida 

Storm warnings. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to run out of money by Friday, just as Category 5 Hurricane Irma is expected to reach the U.S. mainland. FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which pays for the agency’s disaster response and recovery activity, is being spent at a rate of $9.3 million every hour, or about $155,000 a minute.

As recently as last week, the White House and Congressional Republicans were proposing nearly a $1 billion cut to the agency’s budget.

Category 5 Irma, with winds up to 185 mph, is the strongest storm on record outside of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The Category 5 hurricane could potentially reach wind speeds of 225 mph. It was approaching the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this morning (Sept. 6).

A mandatory evacuation for tourists in the Florida Keys began at sunrise. Monroe County’s three hospitals were beginning evacuation plans. No shelters will be open in Monroe County, and government offices, parks and schools will close. “For the Florida Keys, if you were to create the worst case scenario that is what we are looking at,” said Martin Senterfitt, director of the Monroe County emergency operations center.

DACA dissent. Protests broke out in front of the White House and the Justice Department after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of a program that shields young, undocumented immigrants from deportation. “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own,” said former President Barack Obama. Trump urged Congress to pass a replacement before he begins phasing out the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in six months.

Sessions said the Department of Justice advised Trump and the Department of Homeland Security to “begin an orderly, lawful wind-down.” The Department of Homeland Security will process applications received before Tuesday and allow renewals in the next month of any two-year permits scheduled to expire before March 5. Anyone whose permit ends on March 6 or later will have their DACA benefits end then.

The typical DACA recipient came to our country at age 6 and has been in the United States for two decades. “I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly,” Trump said.

Ending DACA could cost the federal government $19.9 billion in Social Security revenue over 10 years. “Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions will go down in history as among America’s all-time civil and human rights villains,” said Steve Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center. Legislation to protect Dreamers has repeatedly died in Congress.

Travel inquiry. The EPA Office of the Inspector General is looking into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel to Oklahoma. Investigators will look at how often Pruitt, who is from Oklahoma, travels there and how much the trips cost taxpayers.

September 6, 2017