Va. governor praises Obama hurricane relief efforts

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), a frequent critic of President Obama, was full of praise for the administrations efforts in response to Hurricane Irene during his monthly radio show Tuesday.

Its been outstanding, McDonnell said. I am very complimentary of what [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] has done. And they are still there and will be there when the damage assessment is done at the end of the week.

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McDonnell and the president have been coordinating relief efforts throughout the storm, talking multiple times by phone over the weekend. About 40 FEMA workers have been performing damage assessments throughout the state in the aftermath of Saturdays hurricane.

The governor also declined an opportunity to join House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in calling for additional federal funding for disaster relief to be offset by additional budget cuts.

My concern is that we help people in need,” McDonnell said. For the FEMA money that’s going to flow, it’s up to them on how they get it. I don’t think it’s the time to get into that debate.”

But the Virginia governor said he believes the federal government will come through with additional funding for relief efforts.

FEMA is maybe a short-term cash-flow problem, but honestly they’ve done a great job,” he said. I’m sure the Congress and the president and FEMA will find ways to get the money they need to take care of people.”

Virginia’s disaster budget has been stretched particularly thin between tornadoes that swept through parts of the state earlier this year, last week’s earthquake centered in Central Virginia and Hurricane Irene. Nearly half a million Virginia residents were still without power Tuesday, including 274,000 in the Richmond area.