The Biden administration has recently submitted a revised funding request seeking an additional $4 billion to bolster the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund, bringing the total requested amount to $16 billion.
This updated funding proposal, announced on Friday, is a response to the recent onslaught of extreme weather events, such as the Maui wildfires and Hurricane Idalia. President Biden has already signed major disaster declarations for both of these incidents, signaling the urgent need for increased financial support to aid in the recovery efforts.
“Given the intensity of disaster activity around the nation – including fires on Maui, in Louisiana, and across the country, massive flooding in Vermont, and now a major hurricane that hit Florida and the Southeast – the Administration is seeking an additional $4 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF),” a spokesperson from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provided in a statement.
President Biden is set to make a visit to Florida on Saturday, following the downgrade of Hurricane Idalia to a tropical storm. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell is already on the ground in the state and participated in a press conference alongside Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday.
On the same day, President Biden paid a visit to FEMA headquarters to engage with staff and treated them to pizza. In preparation for Idalia’s impact, President Biden had previously approved an emergency declaration for Florida, and FEMA has promptly dispatched additional personnel and resources to the state.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement on Friday, urging Congress to expedite the approval of the requested $16 billion in funding.
A spokesperson provided the following statement:
“The President has been clear that we’re going to stand with communities across the Nation as they recover from disasters for as long as it takes, and the Administration is committed to working with Congress to ensure funding for the DRF is sufficient for recovery needs,”
While visiting FEMA headquarters on Thursday, President Biden called upon Congress to approve his funding request, initially set at $12 billion, intended to replenish the disaster relief fund.
“Some of my colleagues, my former colleagues in the Senate… think that this disaster relief money we’re asking to continue to finish the job so far and have enough money to continue to work to save the American people—their lives, their homes, their well-being—is somehow, not needed,” President Biden stated.
“We need this disaster relief met, and we need to do it in September, it can’t wait,” He further stated.