Senators warn of possible FEMA shortfall

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 ~ Updated 3:40 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senators are warning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency may be running out of money. During a subcommittee hearing into federal response to spring disasters, including the Joplin tornado, Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said FEMA may need to rethink the way it classifies and responds to disasters. Pryor said the president has declared 53 major disasters in the country this year. In addition to other declarations, FEMA is responding to 137 incidents. Pryor told the hearing that FEMA is looking at a $3 billion shortfall in its disaster relief fund. Paul said FEMA may be "getting involved in so many routine storms that maybe we don't have enough money when we have truly catastrophic storms." The information of the FEMA shortfall could be a blow to efforts by Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill to get the federal government to pay for 100 percent of costs incurred by aftermath of the Joplin tornado. Both Blunt and McCaskill attended Tuesday afternoon's hearing on Capitol Hill.

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