FEMA held hostage

Isn’t this great? All those suffering people can’t even get their own tax money back to help them recover, because the Republicans have already given it away in corporate tax cuts. I wonder when people will connect those dots:

The damage from Hurricane Irene is still being tallied, and wildfires are spreading across Texas. But Congress signaled Tuesday that it still cannot agree on how to get more money into the nearly depleted coffers of the beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lawmakers are stuck in a dispute over how much additional funding FEMA should receive and whether that additional funding should be offset with cuts elsewhere.

Democratic senators on Tuesday proposed spending $6 billion to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund, the leading program used to reimburse local governments and individuals for disaster-related cleanup and repairs.

That’s $2.35 billion more than the GOP-held House included in a competing appropriations measure that passed in June.

That disparity feeds into the broader debate over whether the government can afford to boost spending on disasters without offsetting the funds with spending cuts elsewhere.

The House’s $3.65 billion for disaster relief eclipsed a springtime request from President Obama but was paired with matching cuts to other areas of FEMA and the scaling back of a program that provides loans to automakers that build energy-efficient cars.

Republicans said the cuts were necessary to prevent disaster relief from adding to the budget deficit.