The cuts to the FEMA grants were made because the system needs to be reformed, the GOP aide explained. There is $13 billion in existing funding that has not been allocated yet, raising questions about the need for new funding.
Furthermore, while some grant money is used for disaster preparations, others are used for projects like drivers license security, not related to disasters.
On the firefighter grants, Republicans point out that the grants are being used for routine expenditures.
“Funding decisions for local fire departments, police, EMTs, etc are undoubtedly best made at a local level. These types of services are a local — not a federal — responsibility, and communities generally know best when it comes to what they need,” one aide said. “Providing for day-to-day operational costs were not part of the original intent.”
The aide said that Obama in fact is the one who has been delinquent on disaster aid: first by underfunding FEMA in the budget request, then by failing so far to make a supplemental appropriations request for recent disasters such as the tornados in the South and flooding in the Mississippi River valley.
Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Meg Reilly said in response that “we are monitoring the situation very closely and will consider a supplemental request if the need arises.”