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House panel approves an extra $1 billion for disaster relief

By Deirdre Walsh, CNN Congressional Producer
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Money would be used by FEMA
  • Bill could get vote by next week

(CNN) -- The House Appropriations Committee approved an additional $1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday to ensure the agency has enough resources to cover disaster response efforts in Missouri and in other states recently hit by natural disasters.

Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, who chairs the spending committee's panel that oversees FEMA's budget, pressed for the additional money to be added to the bill funding the department for the upcoming fiscal year.

"FEMA is projecting that under the best-case scenario, the disaster relief fund will essentially run dry before the end of the fiscal year," Aderholt said in a statement after his committee approved the bill.

Under House rules, any increases for one agency's budget must be offset with cuts to another program. To pay for the boost to FEMA's budget, the committee cut money from a Department of Energy program that promotes the development of energy-efficient vehicles.

The Obama administration has not officially requested any emergency money for FEMA or indicated that it wants Congress to approve any separate aid package to pay for added costs for the disasters.

The 2012 spending bill funding the Homeland Security Department, which encompasses FEMA, is the first of the 12 annual funding bills the House is planning to take up. The bill could go to the House floor as early as next week.

 
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