Policy

Hurricane Florence Bears Down as Sen. Kaine Visits FEMA, Talks Funding

‘Look, we have to come in and ask for more monies for FEMA at year end because the emergencies always cause them to need more resources.’

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., talks with the media after a meeting with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Tim Kaine addressed reporters Wednesday outside the Federal Emergency Management Agency building in Washington, D.C., as the agency and lawmakers prepare for Hurricane Florence.

With winds whipping at up to 130 miles per hour, the hurricane is expected to hit the coasts of the Carolinas within the next 36 hours. Latest assessments estimate sustained rainfall will present the greatest risk to coastal communities. 

Kaine is confident lawmakers will replenish FEMA’s disaster relief pot if they request more federal dollars.

“We have a tradition of doing that,” Kaine said.

Kaine warned lawmakers not to use old budget proposals for natural disaster response as a framework for current proposals because climate change and more volatile weather patterns have rendered them insufficient.

“We’re hiding our heads in the sand if we don’t recognize” that, Kaine said.

Kaine did not get a chance to ask FEMA officials Wednesday about the $10 million the Department of Homeland Security diverted from FEMA to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the heat of the family separation at the border crisis.

“We’re going to get an answer to that question,” Kaine said. “The money should not be diverted. Look, we have to come in and ask for more monies for FEMA at year end because the emergencies always cause them to need more resources. We shouldn’t be diverting into other accounts. We’ll get an answer to that question. My focus today was just on the safety of Virginians and trying to get the most information I could about the progress of Florence and what their predictions are.”

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