Rep. Jared Moskowitz Urges Congress to Increase FEMA Funding
Rep. Jared Moskowitz touring damage in Maui after August’s wildfires {Provided by Keith Nagy, press secretary}

By Bryan Boggiano

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) is urging his fellow legislators to replenish FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund in the wake of numerous natural disasters that caused billions of dollars in damage to communities nationwide.

On Aug. 31, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell announced the organization had only $3.4 billion left in its Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which coordinates recovery and response efforts after a disaster.

Criswell and President Joe Biden pushed Congress to consider $12 billion in additional funding for the DRF. The current $3.4 billion balance would evaporate by mid-September without Congressional action.

In June, Moskowitz proposed $11.5 billion in additional funding, but Congress did not act on his suggestion.

The fight for funding comes as the country faces two major disasters in August. Wildfires devastated parts of Maui, killing 115 people and causing at least $6 billion in damage. The city of Lāhainā was among the most devastated.

“As the former director of emergency management for Florida, I’ve seen a lot of devastation,” Moskowitz said in a press release. “But I’ve got to be honest: the damage from the Lāhainā fires was overwhelming.”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz Urges Congress to Increase FEMA Funding 1
Rep. Jared Moskowitz touring the damage of the Maui wildfires {Provided by Keith Nagy}

On Aug. 30, Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 Hurricane in Florida’s Big Bend. Preliminary estimates from Moody’s Analytics estimate the storm’s total cost to be between $12 billion and $20 billion from damage and economic disruptions.

“With the ongoing disasters happening more and more frequently, the DRF is now almost completely diminished,” Moskowitz said.

As the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches, Moskowitz said disaster preparation cannot be politicized. He stressed the need for federal agencies to help prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters.

He said, “Disaster response has been and should always be bipartisan. When we return in September, we need immediate action from the House and the Senate to address this crisis. Failure to act will leave FEMA crippled during the height of Hurricane Season.”

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Bryan Boggiano
Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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