RALEIGH – National lawmakers are set up for a showdown that could have a huge impact on tornado and hurricane victims in North Carolina.
The Senate passed a bill Thursday giving FEMA an additional $7 billion to replace funds drained by multiple natural disasters this summer but House Republicans may block the bill, opting instead for less FEMA funding and requiring cuts to offset the cost.
“We've seen the Republicans hold everything hostage to get their demands through. They did that with funding to keep the government open back in the spring, they did it with the debt ceiling vote a couple of months ago, now it looks like they're threatening to do it again and to hold hostage relief for the areas hard hit by disasters, including Hurricane Irene,” said Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat from North Carolina's 13th District.
The plan supported by those House Republicans would give FEMA less than $4 billion and require a $1.5 billion cut to a program promoting energy-efficient vehicles to help cover the cost.
"The upcoming [continuing resolution] provides the funds for this year's unprecedented number of natural disasters while maintaining our pledge to stop wasteful spending and make the necessary cuts to areas that are prolonging our economic crisis," Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, of North Carolina's 2nd District, said in a statement.
Republican Walter Jones, who represents many of the hardest-hit areas in eastern North Carolina said, “I fully intend to support any legislation that will help all of those affected by Hurricane Irene and the flooding that followed."