Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The President's Disaster Relief Fund [DRF]

Some may think that FEMA saved the day on the budget impass looming for last several weeks over Washington. Why? The DRF supposedly was almost empty. Then just the day before yesterday FEMA revealed it had adequate funds to carry on a few more days. The Fiscal Year 2011 ends on Friday of course and at midnight the 1st of October Fiscal Year 2012 begins with most of the Executive Branch without an approved appropriation act. The DRF of course is a revolving no-year fund which is why even the National Security STATE has tried to get its hands on it for many years.

But FEMA has as many as 1000 open disasters for which funds have been obligated. It could deobligate some of those funds at any time to fund higher priority projects or even focus on response not recovery. At least for a short period.

During my time in FEMA few if any knew the exact status of the DRF or the rate of payout at any given time. So praise for FEMA if it now has strict accounting and management controls over the PRESIDENT's DRF. After all the President does not have the time to do it. Why is it that somehow I still doubt the DRF has adequate financial controls and is administered properly? Well after all it is a relief program right, not an investment program? Apparently Senators Cochrane and Landieu want to make recovery an investment program with their new legislative initiative. I guess new federal investment in the low tax states of Louisiana and Mississippi usally far down on the lists of states in their efforts to help all their citizens believe their states deserving of all the repetitive disaster assistance poured out year after year. YUP! I will agree that without FEMA these two states would be in even bigger trouble. But when is enough enough? Perhaps FEMA might prepare a report on total disaster outlays since 1950 to all the states and rank based on population vis a vis dollars. Now that would be some statistic. But hey probably would have to be classified by DHS and its minions. The terrorists might find out what mother nature has always known--No variances for these states from their hazards!