Severe Weather Set to Boost U.S. Disaster Funding Needs, FEMA Says

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Growing extreme-weather risks mean President Joe Biden’s expected request for billions in extra disaster-relief funding might not be enough for the next fiscal year, FEMA head Deanne Criswell said.

Biden’s roughly $12 billion request would cover the spending year ending Sept. 30, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. 

“As we’re continuing to see the increase in these severe weather events, that dollar amount may need to go up as we go into next fiscal year,” Criswell said. 

A wildfire in early August that destroyed the Hawaiian town of Lahaina and killed more than 100 people has focused attention on the rising cost of natural disasters. Biden plans to visit Hawaii on Monday, in part to “provide a sense of hope and assurance that the federal government is going to be with them,” Criswell said on ABC’s This Week.

Read more: Biden Vows to Rush Federal Support to Wildfire-Ravaged Hawaii

Biden intends to submit a supplemental funding request of at least $25 billion to Congress. FEMA expects that its running budget will be depleted by mid-September, due to catastrophic event spending.

The White House request is set to prompt pushback from Republicans who are hesitant to approve additional funding for Ukraine that’s part of the package.  

The White House declared a state of emergency for Hawaii, which unlocked federal resources to aid residents on the ground, though Biden has faced criticism on the swiftness of his response which included a “no comment” to reporters when asked about Hawaii aid last week. 

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