All Articles Tagged "federal funding"
With the clean up efforts beginning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s reassuring to know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has enough money to take care of business.
“Nearly $7.8 billion is available for storm response through FEMA’s disaster relief fund, congressional aides said Monday,” Politico reports. There’s even access to billions in additional funds should it become necessary.
But Mitt Romney has suggested that funding for FEMA might end up on the chopping block should he win the election. When asked directly by CNN’s John King about funding for FEMA in June 2011, Romney advocated for turning disaster relief over to the states. He said, according to the Christian Science Monitor:
“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better…
[W]e we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”
Now, a Romney spokesperson is reaffirming those comments about moving disaster relief to state jurisdiction, but, the CSM says, it’s unclear how exactly the relationship between FEMA and the states would change under Romney. Moreover, the budget that the Romney/Ryan ticket has in mind would make large cuts to FEMA.
The New York Times’ editorial page called for a “big government” to handle these sorts of situations, slamming Romney for trying to move disaster response procedures to the state-level given how “financially strapped” they are.
“The agency was put back in working order by President Obama, but ideology still blinds Republicans to its value. Many don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people, or they think people should pay for their bad decisions, which this week includes living on the East Coast,” the strongly-worded op-ed says, in a way that hints, once again, at Romney’s bad-mouthing of the 47 percent.
With this story rearing its head, the Romney campaign made sure to assert its support for the continued existence of FEMA yesterday.
With more detail about Sandy’s havoc being revealed in the light of day, it’s also revealing the need for a strong disaster response mechanism. During Hurricane Katrina, the need for an organized and well-funded disaster response became glaringly apparent. Even with all of the other reasons to detest the Bush administration, it was the situation in New Orleans that really proved to be the final straw for some, showing a level of disorganization and outright callousness for fellow citizens (and fellow human beings) that the country simply couldn’t ignore.
With that in mind, it makes sense that the Romney’s camp would be vague about their candidates feelings and intentions for the agency. It’s one more thing to consider as you enter the voting booth next week.
(Wall Street Journal) — The House voted 228-192 largely along party lines to block public-radio stations from spending federal funds on programming, the latest fallout from a secretly recorded video tape released last week that forced National Public Radio’s chief executive to resign. The measure would ban NPR’s local affiliates from spending any federal money on radio programming, limiting them to using taxpayer dollars only for administrative costs. The proposal, advanced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), does not cut government expenditures, since public radio is funded through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. No Democrats voted for the bill Thursday, and seven Republicans opposed it. Rep. Justin Amash, a newly elected Republican from Michigan, voted “present.” The bill faces dim prospects in the Senate and is opposed by the White House.
(Wall Street Journal) — The conservative activist whose video-sting operation led to the ouster this week of two top National Public Radio executives released more information Thursday that he said showed NPR was more willing to accept money from a bogus Islamic group than it had claimed.
Activist James O’Keefe issued an audio recording of a conversation between NPR executive Betsy Liley and a member of the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center about how to proceed with a $5 million donation, including her suggestion the gift wouldn’t be subject to an audit. Mr. O’Keefe also released an email from Ms. Liley, dated March 1. In it, she wrote that she was “awaiting a draft of a gift agreement from our legal counsel and will share it when I have it.”
NPR disputed the notion that the new information showed it more willing to take money from the group than it had indicated, noting a gift agreement never got beyond the internal drafting stage and was never sent. The network said Ms. Liley’s suggestion “in the audio tapes released today regarding the possibility of making an anonymous gift that would remain invisible to tax authorities is factually inaccurate and not reflective of NPR’s gift practices.”