President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia brings attention to the urgent need for increased FEMA funding. As Biden stood before a damaged home in Live Oak, Florida, he emphasized the rare severity of the storm, stating, “No winds this strong hit this area in one hundred years.”
“Pray God it will be another hundred years before this happens again.”
The White House has called on Congress to provide $16 billion in stopgap funding to bolster FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which is projected to be exhausted by the first half of September if not replenished. This funding is crucial to ensure that FEMA can continue to respond effectively to disasters that are affecting more and more Americans.
“These crises are affecting more and more Americans, and every American regularly expects FEMA to show up when they are needed,” Biden said.
Biden’s appeal for additional funding comes at a time when FEMA’s resources are stretched thin due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 storm, caused widespread power outages and flooding in Florida’s Big Bend region, highlighting the urgent need for support.
While Biden had initially planned to meet with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, security concerns led to the cancellation of their meeting. Despite their political differences, both leaders have come together in times of crisis, as witnessed during Hurricane Ian last year. In a statement Friday night, however, Jeremy Redfern, a spokesman for DeSantis, said the governor did not have plans to meet with the president, citing security difficulties, according to CNBC.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said that the White House and the governor’s office had previously agreed on the location for Biden’s visit, with no security concerns raised at that time.