McCaskill pledges to secure full FEMA funding for Missouri

Sunday, September 4, 2011

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Sen. Claire McCaskill says she's confident Missouri will get the full amount of federal disaster funding it is due despite a funding crisis at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Speaking to reporters in Columbia, Mo., this week, McCaskill said Missouri's congressional delegation would stand together and make sure recovery efforts in Joplin and flood damaged parts of the state would remain a top priority for FEMA, even as the agency faces the possibility of running out of emergency funds by the end of September.

"I think we're going to be fine," McCaskill said. "I think we did exactly what we needed to do and that was let them know...that they'd have to drive over us to stop the commitments they've made to Joplin."

Late last month, FEMA announced it was suspending long-range rebuilding projects nationwide to concentrate its remaining dollars on emergency funds needed on the east coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

FEMA says it has $800 million on hand in its emergency fund, but it was spending $400 million a month before Irene. There is a $3.5 billion bailout plan that has passed the House, but it includes $3.5 billion in accompanying federal budget cuts. The bill currently is stalled in the Senate where Democratic leader Harry Reid is refusing to accept the cuts included in the House bill.

"We'll get those commitments kept," McCaskill said. She added, "The vast majority of the dollars that are being spent in Joplin are federal dollars. I hope that people remember that some of these federal programs are very important and very valuable in our country, and I think Joplin is a good example of when that is the case."

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