Trump swiped $44 billion from FEMA as he undermined unemployment negotiations before Hurricane Laura - 2020-08-28
Lawmakers are concerned that President Donald Trump's decision to swipe $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will leave its disaster fund depleted amid a record-setting hurricane season.
Trump issued a memorandum allowing states to use $44 billion from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to pay $300 per week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits earlier this month. The move came after Trump and Senate Republicans refused to budge on their demands to slash boosted unemployment benefits, repeating a widely-debunked claim that the extra pandemic aid was a disincentive for workers to return to their jobs. House Democrats, meanwhile, approved a full extension of the $600-per-week benefit back in May.
After Hurricane Laura made landfall this week in Louisiana amid a hurricane season which has already seen a record-setting number of named storms, lawmakers worry Trump's move could leave FEMA unprepared to respond to recovery efforts. If the entire $44 billion is used, it could deplete the disaster relief agency's budget to as low as $25 billion, according to the Louisiana news outlet NOLA.com.