Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Nolan Demands Explanation for President’s Decision to Swipe $9.8 million from FEMA as Hurricane Season Approached

Sep 14, 2018
Press Release
FEMA fund “reprogramming” was part of $169 million the President moved from programs vital to the American people in order to facilitate expansion of immigrant child detention centers on the U.S. southern border.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As Hurricane Florence continued to deal a devastating blow across the nation’s East Coast, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today demanded justification and an explanation from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney for the President’s decision to pull $9.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to facilitate expansion of child detention centers on the U.S. southern border.

All told, the President moved $169 million from Department of Homeland Security programs to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help fund the detention centers for immigrant children and families.

“These actions by the President appear to be a back door method of funding operations that could not withstand the normal appropriations process,” Nolan pointed out in his letter to Mulvaney.

The letter went on to say:

“At the cusp of the hurricane season, the $9.8 million takeaway of urgently needed funds from FEMA is quite unbelievable. In fact, with those funds no longer available to FEMA, Speaker Ryan indicated just yesterday that a supplemental appropriation for hurricane relief would probably be necessary. And according to news reports, the North Carolina congressional delegation has begun work on a bipartisan request for additional funding to deal with the damage from Hurricane Florence.

“How in the name of reason and common sense can the President justify taking $9.8 million from FEMA while millions of Americans face devastating damage to their homes, properties and businesses – not to mention the damage to our power grids and transportation infrastructure all along the East Coast?

“Moreover, Homeland Security’s response thus far – that the $9.8 million in FEMA funds could not have been used for hurricane and flood relief under current regulations – is a non-starter. If the money could be reprogrammed to fund immigration detention centers, common sense tells me those funds could have been reprogrammed within FEMA for hurricane and flood relief.”

The full text of the letter is below:

 

The Hon. Mick Mulvaney
Director, Office of Management and Budget
725 1th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503


Dear Director Mulvaney,


I am writing to request a full explanation and justification for the President's decision to transfer approximately $169 million from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other programs vital to the American people to projects he favors, such as child detention centers, which have virtually no support outside the Oval Office.


As I am certain you are aware, funds have indeed been reprogrammed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to facilitate expansion of immigrant child detention centers. These actions by the President appear to be a back door method of funding operations that could not withstand the normal appropriations process.


At the cusp of the hurricane season, the $9.8 million takeaway of urgently needed funds from FEMA is quite unbelievable. In fact, with those funds no longer available to FEMA, Speaker Ryan indicated just yesterday that a supplemental appropriation for hurricane relief would probably be necessary. And according to news reports, the North Carolina congressional delegation has begun work on a bipartisan request for additional funding to deal with the damage from Hurricane Florence.
How in the name of reason and common sense can the President justify taking $9.8 million from FEMA while millions of Americans face devastating damage to their homes, properties and businesses - not to mention the damage to our power grids and transportation infrastructure all along the East Coast?


Moreover, Homeland Security's response thus far- that the $9.8 million in FEMA funds could not have been used for hurricane and flood relief under current regulations - is a non-starter. If the money could be reprogrammed to fund immigration detention centers, common sense tells me those funds could have been reprogrammed within FEMA for hurricane and flood relief.


Thank you for your attention to this matter. I know a great many of my colleagues share these concerns, and I am looking forward to your early response.


If you have any questions please have your staff contact my Legislative Assistant Eddie Wytkind at 202-225-6211 or Eddie.Wytkind@.mail.house.gov.

 

Sincerely,