Obama to formally request FEMA increase this week

The White House will formally request additional funding for disasters, Budget Director Jack Lew said in a Tuesday letter to appropriators.

The White House is seeking to amend its February request for $1.8 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds upward, by asking for an additional $4.8 billion.

Lew says in the letter that $1.5 billion will be needed to provide clean-up for Hurricane Irene through 2012 and that $3.3 billion extra will be needed for other disasters.

Lew reiterates that the administration will work to determine whether FEMA needs an infusion of cash before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The agency reportedly has $600 million to use before then.

House Republicans have said that once the White House makes a formal request, they will consider it in a fiscally responsible manner. Last month, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) signaled his strong preference that disaster aid be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.