Just as the one-eyed man is King in the land of the blind, FEMA when solvent has often punched well beyond its superficial weight in times of catastrophe and disaster. Why? It had bucks while other agencies did not and especially when fourth quarter events occurred, like September 11th, 2001, or Hurricane Katrina late August 2005.
Well with less than $900 billion in the DRF it is now certain that the massive number of declarations of disasters and emergencies stemming from various events from drought to Hurricane Irene and the slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee have presented an opportunity for both parties to really force the American public to understand the standoff in Washington. FEMA ops are currently being drastically impacted by the shortage of funding in the DRF [Disaster Relief Fund] no matter what W. Craig Fugate say on the record. With the daily Federal Register increasing the number of declared emergencies and disasters the ball has been kicked at the heads of the Congress in both houses who much put up or shut up on funding FEMA now, not sometime next year.
And of course the first instinct of Congress is to cut funding to other FEMA and DHS programs NOW and in the forthcoming fiscal year. So FEMA may move from stepchild in DHS to pariah as other DHS managers view FEMA as vampire. Yes, Eloise! To some degree Executive Branch budgets are a zero sum game. What one agency gets another does not.
A fascinating time to watch the FEDERAL Government see if it can govern, its basic purpose of course. And the ranks of those politicians that wish to govern as opposed to posturing have dwindled in numbers to the smallest percentage in US history. Why? The incumbents want to stay in Washington where the overwhelming number of lobbyists keep them wined and dined and corrupted even while the American people suffer drought and floods and other impacts from natural and man made hazards such as energy grid failures and pipeline explosions.