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FEMA RUNNING OUT OF MONEY

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The federal government has frozen some aid to tornado- and flood-ravaged Missouri and the South to focus on immediate help for victims of Hurricane Irene, disappointing residents and officials who said Monday they still need help.

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Bob Josephson said FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund is running low -- down to between $800 million and $1 billion. When that happens, the agency focuses on immediate response, rather than long-term rebuilding. It also needs to ensure there's enough money to respond to any other disasters that might occur this year, he said.

The shift drew criticism from Missouri's senators, who promised to push to get full funding restored for Joplin, where a May 22 tornado killed 160 people and damaged about 7,500 homes, and other parts of the country hit by disasters earlier this year.

"I do, candidly, worry because folks in other parts of the country feel the world revolves around the corridor between Washington and New York City," Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill told The Associated Press. "What happened in southwest Missouri was huge devastation compared to what Irene did over the weekend."

Lawmakers in both parties have been frustrated with President Barack Obama's budget office, which has only requested $1.8 billion for the FEMA disaster fund despite a long-documented shortfall for disasters like hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and massive flooding in Tennessee last spring.

House Republicans moved to double that funding this spring after tornadoes killed hundreds in Missouri and Alabama, but the legislation failed to advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

A little-noticed provision in the recently-passed debt limit and budget deal permits Congress to pass several billion dollars in additional FEMA disaster aid, but the White House has yet to ask for more money.

"It's too early to tell what the damage assessment will be and what next steps may need to be taken," said Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman for the White House budget office.

Victims of the Joplin tornado and other disasters will continue to get individual aid for such things as temporary housing and debris removal, Josephson said. But help with long-term rebuilding projects has been placed on hold until Congress allocates more money.

Art Faulkner, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said the FEMA action means tens of millions of dollars is on hold that was meant to rebuild four public schools destroyed by April tornadoes that killed more than 200 people. Another $33 million had been promised to construct storm shelters and strengthen existing ones.

But Faulkner said with hurricane season just starting, delaying funding for long-term projects means there will be money to buy tarps and other items for immediate relief next week should another storm system churning in the Atlantic cause damage.

"It's not all a bad thing," he said.

It wasn't immediately clear which projects in Joplin may be put on hold. Several messages left with the city of Joplin and the school district weren't returned.

Joplin real estate agent Mary Plunkett praised the government's relief effort so far, but she also urged FEMA officials to keep their promises.

"I understand there's only so much money to go around, and other disasters to attend to," said Plunkett, a retired special education teacher whose home came through the tornado undamaged. "But it's kind of hard when you've been told something, and then it's changed."

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he expects the federal government's full commitment to help Joplin to be fulfilled "expeditiously."

But a top House leader said Republicans controlling that chamber will look for spending cuts to "offset" new money for Irene and earlier disasters. That would probably put the House on a collision course with the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is likely to take advantage of provisions in the budget deal permitting billions of dollars in deficit-financed relief.

"We will find the money if there is a need for additional money," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told Fox news. "But those monies are not unlimited and we have said we have to offset that."

McCaskill noted it has been an expensive year for disasters, with five causing more than $1 billion each in damage.

Still, she said she was confident money would be found, especially since damage from Hurricane Irene could fall short of initial expectations. One private company estimated it at $7 billion -- about one-fifth of the cost of Hurricane Katrina.

"I just want to make sure the commitments made to Joplin -- we don't see a hiccup there," McCaskill said. "I'm confident Joplin will continue to get the funding it needs."
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Replies

  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    I have long heard that FEMA tries to get money from areas that are not prone to disaster to underwrite and pay for the expenses of repairs in the more disaster prone areas.

    Recently I witnessed it first hand. I did the field work and had a property that a friend owns removed from the flood plain. The letter from FEMA agreeing to the removal from the flood plain (and therefore also eliminating the property from the mortgage company's requirement for flood insurance) was just terrible. It stated that the property had been removed from the flood plain but then went on to say that even though it had been removed from the flood plain THEY recomend that flood insurance be retained AND that the individual mortgage holders may require that flood insurance be retained. THis is the letter you have to submit to the mortgage company to have them remove their flood insurance requirement. THAT IS TOTAL BS. No flood plain - no right to demand flood insurance. FEMA just loves folks that will never flood to keep paying those flood insurance premiums. They use this money to help underwrite losses for property that should have never been built upon, like those islands in Texas.
  • UgahewesUgahewes Posts: 5,322 Admiral
    i say lets keep giving govmt money for foreign aid to countries that hate us, give me a break cant help our own people
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,463 AG
    Ugahewes wrote: »
    i say lets quit giving govmt money to aid foreign countries that hate us and help our own people

    fixed it for ya.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • UgahewesUgahewes Posts: 5,322 Admiral
    well i like sarcasm lol
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,463 AG
    That's what she said
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    Waste...
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
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    .
    .
    .
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    Fraud...
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    Abuse.
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • tapatetapate Posts: 5,263 Admiral
    I have long heard that FEMA tries to get money from areas that are not prone to disaster to underwrite and pay for the expenses of repairs in the more disaster prone areas.

    Recently I witnessed it first hand. I did the field work and had a property that a friend owns removed from the flood plain. The letter from FEMA agreeing to the removal from the flood plain (and therefore also eliminating the property from the mortgage company's requirement for flood insurance) was just terrible. It stated that the property had been removed from the flood plain but then went on to say that even though it had been removed from the flood plain THEY recomend that flood insurance be retained AND that the individual mortgage holders may require that flood insurance be retained. THis is the letter you have to submit to the mortgage company to have them remove their flood insurance requirement. THAT IS TOTAL BS. No flood plain - no right to demand flood insurance. FEMA just loves folks that will never flood to keep paying those flood insurance premiums. They use this money to help underwrite losses for property that should have never been built upon, like those islands in Texas.

    Just playing devil's advocate, but if you were the mortgage company and your property holding the lien was iffy on flood plain and knew that wasn't covered by a standard policy, wouldn't you want your rear covered? Its one thing to ask, but another to require. It really stinks though, but i am surprised it isn't seen more.
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    Flood insurance is so cheap there is hardly any reason not to have it if you could possibly ever have a flood issue.
  • tapatetapate Posts: 5,263 Admiral
    For some people, yes. Some folks it can be an extra 1k or more. Although high deductibles can help.
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    tapate wrote: »
    Just playing devil's advocate, but if you were the mortgage company and your property holding the lien was iffy on flood plain and knew that wasn't covered by a standard policy, wouldn't you want your rear covered? Its one thing to ask, but another to require. It really stinks though, but i am surprised it isn't seen more.

    It was just under 3K for thid building! The building was built in 1976 and has never had any flood damage. That was before they built the "Deep Tunnel" resevoir system which since it's construction has pretty much ended the large part of any flooding in the area.
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    Dewey is right Waste & Fraud. Like thousands of trailers that can't be used.

    Waste & Fraud
    kind of becoming the American Way. Real sad.
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,020 Captain
    I like Ron Pauls take on FEMA.
    He says it is an antique and a huge waste of money.
    It should be done away with.
    F the feds
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    Dewey is right Waste & Fraud. Like thousands of trailers that can't be used.

    Waste & Fraud
    kind of becoming the American Way. Real sad.

    You live by a river or on a coastal island? No problem! When it gets washed or blown away the govt will pay to rebuild it and even pay for somewhere for you to live, food, clothing, etc. while you are inconvenienced. It's your RIGHT...:USA:dance:beer
    OK I exaggerated a little but you get my point.
  • UgahewesUgahewes Posts: 5,322 Admiral
    im starting to like ron paul more
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • wishfishinwishfishin Posts: 4,080 Captain
    The business of assuming risk should be left to the free market. If you choose to live in an area that is prone to natural disaster, you should not rely on the government to bail you out. Assume the risk yourself or pay the actuarially correct premium to have the risk assumed by an insurance company.
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  • Jolly ManJolly Man Posts: 967 Officer
    This works good at first glance but what if you own a business that has a mortgage on the building? Ie...Most all buildings and businesses don't own their structures. so what would happen to these areas? PC, Destin, Carrablelle, SGI, Florida Keys......All these areas are primarily covered by Citizens because Free market has decided these areas might suffer damage. just sayin....
    The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. - Charles Swindoll
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    wishfishin wrote: »
    The business of assuming risk should be left to the free market. If you choose to live in an area that is prone to natural disaster, you should not rely on the government to bail you out. Assume the risk yourself or pay the actuarially correct premium to have the risk assumed by an insurance company.
    I understand the principle but we're too far past that. In your neck of the woods that may fly but not on the gulf coast. Without the fema flood program or citizens (state insurance pool) you'd have millions of homes in FL that would be uninsurable which means you could not have a mortgage on them. Talk about crippling the economy. Most of the state would be uninhabitable, not to mention coastal AL, MS, LA and TX. It's a great principle but it will never work.
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    ducknfish wrote: »
    I understand the principle but we're too far past that. In your neck of the woods that may fly but not on the gulf coast. Without the fema flood program or citizens (state insurance pool) you'd have millions of homes in FL that would be uninsurable which means you could not have a mortgage on them. Talk about crippling the economy. Most of the state would be uninhabitable, not to mention coastal AL, MS, LA and TX. It's a great principle but it will never work.

    We build where we should not, we live where we should not & we expect others to help pay for our losses when they occur. Something is wrong with that picture. What did folks do when Florida and other "disaster prone" areas were settled and built upon back before FEMA existed with their "deep pockets"? I want a home in paradise but if part of owning that home is the risk of it being blown away that is my decision to take that risk or not.

    There would be insurance for the homes in these disaster prone areas---but at higher premiums. The cost of these premiums would help dictate the values of these homes. It's nice to own a million dollar home on a barrier island, BUT if the insurance premium was 50K a year the market would correct the value of that home down to say 500K instead of a million.

    How much would the folks in those million dollar homes kick if they were asked to help pay for the snow removal in Detroit for example? You should have to pay the price of living in the area you choose. If that is snow removal or high disaster insurance premiums, well so be it.
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    We build where we should not, we live where we should not & we expect others to help pay for our losses when they occur. Something is wrong with that picture. What did folks do when Florida and other "disaster prone" areas were settled and built upon back before FEMA existed with their "deep pockets"? I want a home in paradise but if part of owning that home is the risk of it being blown away that is my decision to take that risk or not.

    There would be insurance for the homes in these disaster prone areas---but at higher premiums. The cost of these premiums would help dictate the values of these homes. It's nice to own a million dollar home on a barrier island, BUT if the insurance premium was 50K a year the market would correct the value of that home down to say 500K instead of a million.

    How much would the folks in those million dollar homes kick if they were asked to help pay for the snow removal in Detroit for example? You should have to pay the price of living in the area you choose. If that is snow removal or high disaster insurance premiums, well so be it.

    FEMA doesn't insure us for our homes being blown away, they insure us for FLOOD not wind. The program already exists and is counted on by the mortgage companies in order to continue to have mortgages in these areas. Homeowners insurance policies do not insure for FLOOD, period. If you don't have FLOOD insurance every business and home in flood zones required to have flood insurance can no longer have a mortgage. Free enterprise mortgage companies will not insure for FLOOD.

    What yall are proposing is that the homeowners and businesses in flood zones become uninsurable and therefore can no longer have a mortgage which already exists. Do you see the problem here? So long as banks are going to hold paper on places in flood zones there must be flood insurance, and FEMA is the only one who provides it.
  • Nat-LightNat-Light Posts: 451 Deckhand
    Ugahewes wrote: »
    im starting to like ron paul more

    Me too. I think he scares the sh$% out of the establishment which is why you seldom see him getting any media attention or acknowledgment from other candidates. At this point, he's the only Presidential candidate that will get my vote. If he's not on the ballot in November 2012, I doubt if I will cast a vote for the lesser of two evils.
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,020 Captain
    Seems like there is a way out of it, although it would be a slow correction.
    Structures now in place stay insured until they are flooded.
    Owners are paid one time, and can stay , uninsured, or relocate and deed the property to the state.
    Any new construction within the flood zone must be self insured
    My hope with this is that the state would obtain thousands of acres at a reasonable price, that could go back to nature.
    It is criminal that thousands of miles of beach, are unusable by the general public, because of hotels, condo's.
    It is all about tax revenue.
    F the feds
  • StonewallStonewall Posts: 848 Officer
    Nat-Light wrote: »
    Me too. I think he scares the sh$% out of the establishment which is why you seldom see him getting any media attention or acknowledgment from other candidates. At this point, he's the only Presidential candidate that will get my vote. If he's not on the ballot in November 2012, I doubt if I will cast a vote for the lesser of two evils.
    I hate to hear that Nat-Light because I don't think Paul will be on the ballot and I think the evil in office right now is to
    Great to sit this one out. I do agree with Paul a lot but he scares me with some of his foreign policy.
    Can't never did try!
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    ducknfish wrote: »
    FEMA doesn't insure us for our homes being blown away, they insure us for FLOOD not wind. The program already exists and is counted on by the mortgage companies in order to continue to have mortgages in these areas. Homeowners insurance policies do not insure for FLOOD, period. If you don't have FLOOD insurance every business and home in flood zones required to have flood insurance can no longer have a mortgage. Free enterprise mortgage companies will not insure for FLOOD.

    What yall are proposing is that the homeowners and businesses in flood zones become uninsurable and therefore can no longer have a mortgage which already exists. Do you see the problem here? So long as banks are going to hold paper on places in flood zones there must be flood insurance, and FEMA is the only one who provides it.

    Everyone should be able to buy the insurance but at the market premium. Why should someone inland pay the same premium as a person on the water for instance. We have to stop being forced to underwrite another person's foolishness or gamble.

    There are people with homes on the Fox River near the chain of lakes in the upper part of Illinois that regularly get wiped out by floods. One woman was on TV spouting off how "she" is going to rebuild and will never move away from the water. The news reporter actually told her her position was ridiculous. I wonder how fast she would move if as suggested above the government said "Well this is your last check. Rebuild or move= BUT= the next flood you are on your own". Pretty quick would be my guess.
  • wishfishinwishfishin Posts: 4,080 Captain
    ducknfish wrote: »
    I understand the principle but we're too far past that. In your neck of the woods that may fly but not on the gulf coast. Without the fema flood program or citizens (state insurance pool) you'd have millions of homes in FL that would be uninsurable which means you could not have a mortgage on them. Talk about crippling the economy. Most of the state would be uninhabitable, not to mention coastal AL, MS, LA and TX. It's a great principle but it will never work.

    I may have been slightly misunderstood. Citizens and the flood program are all OK, they're pooled and thus spread the risk. The problem is those who can not or choose not to insure their homes but expect a free rebuild when it's all wiped out.
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  • wishfishinwishfishin Posts: 4,080 Captain
    ducknfish wrote: »
    What yall are proposing is that the homeowners and businesses in flood zones become uninsurable and therefore can no longer have a mortgage which already exists.

    Never said that. What I am saying is the free market should dictate the premium. There are companies willing to assume the risk at the correct actuarial premium. But the Insurance Commissioner won't allow those rates so the pool is created and rates are subsidized. And therein lies the cause of the funding problems we have now.
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  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,463 AG
    How about inforce that the monies given on claims be used to FULLY fix what was messed up by storms and not just "patch it" so the next storm can tear it up again and then they make another claim. I personally think Fl should be split N and S just like the Carolinas. Draw the line between Gainesville and Ocala. S Fl has the majority of the big $$ money homes on the beach's and it hurts us up in N Fl on every claim they make.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • wishfishinwishfishin Posts: 4,080 Captain
    Good point Micci. Insurance companies can make that distinction. A Statewide pool favors the high risk property owners.
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  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    wishfishin wrote: »
    I may have been slightly misunderstood. Citizens and the flood program are all OK, they're pooled and thus spread the risk. The problem is those who can not or choose not to insure their homes but expect a free rebuild when it's all wiped out.

    I did misunderstand, and I could not agree with what you are hitting on her more. What you are referring to is a social program more than insurance. Flood and Citizens are insurance pools, the uninsured who expect govt assistance because they are not insured, or self insured are asking for a handout and that should stop.
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