FEMA: Funding transferred to ICE won't harm hurricane response

FEMA Says It’s Ready for Hurricane Florence, Defends 2017 Response

FEMA Says It’s Ready for Hurricane Florence, Defends 2017 Response

According to Sen. Patrick Leahy's office, Homeland Security notified Congress on June 30 that it would transfer $200 million from other agencies to ICE, including the funds from FEMA.

At the height of hurricane season, President Donald Trump authorized the transfer of almost $10 million in money intended for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for use in United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, a newly released document shows.

Merkley said the money is desperately needed in case the U.S.is hit as hard as it was a year ago by hurricanes. FEMA's budget originally was $1.03 billion and the amount transferred was about $9.755 million. And for what? To implement their profoundly misguided "zero-tolerance" policy.

The FEMA and Coast Guard transfers were first reported by "The Rachel Maddow Show". Watch above, via MSNBC.

The deal struck between Republican and Democratic lawmakers will keep the government open through spending bills that include a "continuing resolution" that fund federal agencies until December 7.

"FEMA will curtail training, travel, public engagement sessions, IT security support and infrastructure maintenance, and IT investments in the legacy grants systems for transition to the Grants Management Modernization Program", the document says. The disaster relief funding left untouched by the transfer, Whelan said, covers post-storm assistance and the rebuilding of public structures, while "Response and Recovery" money tapped for the transfer pays for plans, logistics, supply-chain management and after-action reports that seek to improve on previous seasons, said Whelan, who is also a former official with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. FEMA officials said the hurricane could be the strongest storm to hit the Carolinas and Virginia region "in decades".

Houlton added that "the money in question - transferred to ICE from FEMA's routine operating expenses - could not have been used for hurricane response due to appropriation limitations".

News that the Trump administration moved funds out of the agency tasked with coordinating the federal government's disaster response efforts comes as the administration is scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Florence, which has been described as "one of the strongest hurricanes to churn toward the eastern seaboard in decades".

In a briefing Wednesday, a FEMA response and recovery official told reporters the agency has "plenty of resources" to respond to to the storm, now approaching the Carolinas and Georgia. It further detailed how FEMA's operations will be impacted now since some of its budget is gone.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo is seen inside press conference room, May 11, 2017, at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Homeland Security did not deny the transfers are legitimate to Bustle, but a spokesperson did downplay their significance with regards to FEMA's budget, and especially its disaster response funds. Politico reported Long was under investigation for possibly misusing government resources and personnel on weekend trips home to Hickory, North Carolina.

'I believe this movement of funds was within the flexibility the administration has, ' Merkley noted. One of the things that we're actually working on right now with members of Congress is to get them to change that. "I think what the American people would like to hear is what can we learn from Puerto Rico, from the Virgin Islands and from Texas, so we can do it better", he said.

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