Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GOP Has Forced Cuts To FEMA, Corps Of Engineers Funding

The rain-delayed GOP convention in Tampa is certainly under a cloud.

The New York Times reminds us that Tea Partyish Republicans in Congress have forced cuts in FEMA and US Army Corps of Engineer funding - - the very disaster relief programs that will help rebuild the Gulf states when Hurricane Isaac blows itself out and that may help save New Orleans from another Hurricane Katrina-style catastrophe:

Between 2010 and 2012, House Republicans forced a reduction of 43 percent in the primary grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that pay for disaster preparedness. That is $1.8 billion that will not be available for evacuation equipment and supplies, communications gear that lets first responders speak to one another, and training exercises...

That spending was enormously useful during last year’s tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. Although the effects of the cuts will not be felt yet as gulf states deal with this week’s storm, they will leave the region less prepared for future hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. 

The New Orleans area, in particular, will rely this week on $14 billion in levee construction, pumps and other flood control structures built by the Army Corps of Engineers since Katrina. But the corps’s construction budget has been cut by 21 percent since 2009 because of Republican pressure, hitting flood prevention especially hard. 

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