Spending bill includes nearly $19 billion in disaster relief funds

GOP Rep. Cammack: 'I don't trust, without the legislation having guardrails, that that money is actually going to go to the disaster funds that it's supposed to go to'

Updated: October 1, 2022 - 1:11pm

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The continuing resolution that the Democratic-led Congress passed on Friday contains $18.8 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

According to FEMA, the agency can use the DRF funds to "direct, coordinate, manage, and fund eligible response and recovery efforts associated with domestic major disasters and emergencies."

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Leahy's office told Just the News that "combined with anticipated rollover there would be about $35 billion available once the CR is signed into law."

Leahy said in a Senate floor speech that he's ready to work with his colleagues to provide more emergency funding should it be needed.  

"Of course, we won't know the full extent of the damage for several days," Leahy said.

Florida Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor said in a statement that adding the $18 billion allows Florida to "breathe easier that emergency aid funds will be available without a need for a near term supplemental emergency funding bill for Hurricane Ian."

Florida Republican Rep. Kat Cammack, who voted against the CR, said the bill has "no guardrails" and doesn't direct the funding to the damage Ian caused. Cammack serves as the ranking member for the FEMA Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

"There have been FEMA funds that were designated for homeless veterans and people on the verge of homelessness, that this administration has raided and used those funds for plane tickets and bus tickets and hotel rooms for illegals at the border," Cammack said during a Capitol Hill interview on Friday.

"Millions of dollars have gone to that. I don't trust, without the legislation having guardrails, that that money is actually going to go to the disaster funds that it's supposed to go to, because we've seen where they use this money, as though it's, again, just a piggy bank where they can take where they want and send it wherever," she added.

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