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-- 2017 --
January 5: Trump’s big FEMA decision
As the agency’s lauded director steps down, Trump must carefully consider a replacement
January 25: “I’m begging FEMA for boots on the ground”: Donald Trump leaves GOP leaders begging for aid after deadly storms in the South
Red state governors in Mississippi and Georgia complain they’ve been waiting for a response from Trump for days
Nearly two dozen people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of massive storms that hit three Southern states over the weekend. And while President Donald Trump was signing an executive order freezing hiring for all federal employees during his first "day of action," the governors of affected red states have been begging for assistance from the federal government.
February 3: FEMA Disaster Deductible Could Survive Trump Deregulation Drive
March 8: President Trump proposes major cuts to USCG,FEMA
Cuts would help border security, building wall
March 31: New York City Worries Over Trump’s Proposed $667 Million Cut to FEMA
June 2: FEMA and NOAA Face Hurricane Season Without New Leaders in Place
The two agencies most important to predicting and managing weather-related disasters face budget cuts and temporary bosses.
June 6: Former FEMA director: Trump is a 'catastrophic event'
June 21: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The vote was 95-4 on Tuesday for Brock Long. He previously ran Alabama's Emergency Management Agency and served as that state's on-scene incident commander during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Long takes over the agency at the beginning of hurricane season, as the Gulf Coast prepares for Tropical Storm Cindy. The agency has already managed 41 disaster declarations this year and the Trump administration has proposed cutting nearly $1 billion from the agency's budget.
More than $500 million in proposed cuts would come from FEMA's grant programs, including the grants for pre-disaster mitigation efforts.
While some of these changes will require action from Congress, the imprimatur of FEMA’s administrator could give them a boost as lawmakers face a deadline at the end of the September to rewrite the federal flood insurance program. Even without legislation, FEMA says it could shift the initial costs for disaster relief to local or state governments.
August 25: The first big hurricane of Trump’s presidency will be managed by Obama-era officials
Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall on the upper Texas coast Friday night, bringing “life-threatening and devastating” flooding, according to US government warnings. Mandatory evacuation notices have already been issued to residents of several counties.
The Trump White House has not done much to prepare for the storm, however. Two of the three politically appointed positions in the over-9,000-employee FEMA have yet to be filled by Trump appointees; the same goes with the top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors storms. Even the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, doesn’t have a permanent secretary, after John F. Kelly left to become White House chief of staff on July 31.
August 29: President Trump on Tuesday, while visiting Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, praised government officials for their response to the natural disaster. In particular, he noted how FEMA administrator Brock Long “has really become very famous on television over the last couple of days.” Trump ran through the list of federal officials who traveled with him to Texas, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
August 30: After Harvey, Jewish Leaders Hope Trump Will Lift Bar on FEMA Aid to Synagogues
Government rules could bar Houston's synagogues from receiving government rebuilding grants that are available to other not-for-profits
September 13: Trump FEMA Nominee [Daniel Craig] Withdraws After NBC Questions on Falsified Records
September 13: Trump approves greater FEMA aid for 37 Florida counties
September 15: Democrats ask: How could Trump have nominated this man for FEMA?
After the sudden withdrawal this week of President Donald Trump's nominee for a top post at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Senate Democrats are raising concerns about the White House's vetting process.
"The White House may have thought, 'Well, no one will pay any attention to this — this will be ignored.' Obviously, it was not ignored," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which had been considering Daniel A. Craig's nomination for the No. 2 spot at FEMA.
September 26: Trump Praises FEMA for “Really Good Job” in Puerto Rico ... Addressing the crisis five days after a hurricane devastated the island, Trump is making the Katrina comparisons easy.
Distracted, perhaps, by his multi-day feud with the National Football League, it took Donald Trump five full days to respond to the rapidly escalating crisis in Puerto Rico, where millions are without power or potable water after Hurricane Maria decimated the island. On Monday night, the president finally tackled the issue on Twitter in characteristically Trumpian fashion—appearing to blame the islanders, all U.S. citizens, for their affliction. “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” he wrote in a series of posts. “It’s [sic] old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities - and doing well. #FEMA.”
October 6: FEMA Deletes Information About Lack of Water and Electricity in Puerto Rico
The FEMA website has been an important tool for keeping Americans up to date on disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. But yesterday, the agency deleted statistics about how many people have access to electricity and clean water on the island. The FEMA website now only displays information that casts the recovery efforts in a positive light.
On Wednesday, just 5 percent of Puerto Rico had electricity and only 50 percent had water. That information was readily available on the FEMA website as late as Wednesday night. But now it’s gone, while more positive information, like statistics about the percentage of hospitals open (92 percent) and the percentage of grocery stores open (65 percent), are still being made available.
October 12: With 80% of Puerto Rico still without power, Trump says FEMA can't stay 'forever'
October 16: Clinton FEMA Director Praises Trump’s Hurricane Response - Including for Puerto Rico
Despite the criticism that President Donald Trump has received over his handling of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the Clinton administration’s FEMA director, James Lee Witt, thinks Trump and his team deserve an “A+” - a fact that Trump pointed out during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden Monday.
Witt told the Washington Post that he would give the federal government response to the hurricane - including Puerto Rico - the highest grade. [Notes: CNSNews.com (formerly known as Cybercast News Service) is a politically conservative American news and commentary website]
[See October 19 correction]
October 19: Fmr. FEMA Dir. Says Trump ‘Expanded Truth’ On ‘A+’ Maria Response:
Shortly after the initial
responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Florida and Texas, I was asked if I
would give the Trump Administration and FEMA an A+ for those responses. I said I
would, on both hurricanes. This was prior to hurricane Maria in Puerto Rica and
the Virgin Islands. Even today, it is yet to be determined whether the ultimate
response to that hurricane will get an A, C or F or something else. As time goes
by that will become apparent.
November 6: Chef José Andrés And The Trump Administration Are Fighting Over Puerto Rico
FEMA says Andrés is no longer working with them on the island because he's a "businessman" who wanted a contract through 2017. Andrés said anyone who says he was just trying to make a buck "should be ashamed of themselves."
Celebrity chef José Andrés has helped cook and deliver 2.2 million meals in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria flattened the island, at one point cranking out 150,000 meals a day. But while his effort has been loudly praised across the country, the Trump administration, which awarded him two contracts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been curiously quiet on his efforts as they wound down.
That's in part because the administration, which has had a contentious relationship with Andrés, sees a different picture.
An official with FEMA told BuzzFeed News the agency has been disappointed by Andrés' public comments about the paralysis of bureaucracy and pace of recovery. Andrés, the official said, is a "colorful guy who gets a lot of exposure" and "a businessman looking for stuff to promote his business."
December 8: Trump Declares State of Emergency in Calif., FEMA Will Fund Most Costs for Firefighting Efforts
President Donald J. Trump declared a state of emergency in California, ordering federal assistance to local and state governments to help combat wildfires and alleviate emergency conditions.
The Thomas Fire is burning across 132,000 acres with 10 percent containment, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
-- 2018 --
January 31: Trump Tells Puerto Rico ‘We Love You’ as FEMA Cuts Off Food and Water Aid to Island
“A third of Puerto Rico still lacks electricity. Many do not have running water. But FEMA will ‘officially shut off’ tomorrow,” wrote activist Erin Schrode on Facebook Tuesday. Schrode is COO of World Central Kitchen, who is leading the #ChefsForPuertoRico project with chef José Andrés to distribute millions of meals on the island.
January 31: FEMA Reverses Decision to End Puerto Rico Aid After Trump Celebrates Support for Puerto Rico in SOTU ... the Wednesday shutdown date had been “mistakenly provided” and that FEMA is in fact still in the process of deciding when it will wind down operations.
February 6: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Congress launched a bipartisan investigation into how the Bush administration’s response had fallen so fatally short. That probe found, among other things, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had neglected to line up potential contractors in preparation for a major natural disaster — an oversight that led FEMA to rely on wasteful, fraudulent, or inefficient partners once the levees broke.
Now, some on Capitol Hill are beginning to suspect that FEMA made the same error under Trump, in the run-up to last year’s devastating hurricane season. Cause for such concerns isn’t hard to find. In November, the Associated Press revealed that the agency paid a single firm $30 million for emergency tarps and plastic sheeting — none of which was ever delivered.
The federal government had time to deploy satellite phones to the island, to avoid the communications blackout that isolated remote areas from the territory’s government. It could have delivered reserves of food, fuel, and water in advance of the storm, allowing local officials to spread those vital resources throughout the territory before Maria lay waste to much of its trucking infrastructure. Instead, the president did almost nothing in the lead-up to the storm — and went on a four-day golf vacation in its immediate aftermath.
February 11: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that federal emergency aid has been made available to the territory of American Samoa to supplement territory and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the area affected by Tropical Storm Gita beginning on February 7, 2018, and continuing.
February 13: A FEMA emergency response team is in Sacramento working with California officials, and the agency will supply 150,000 bottles of water, 20,000 blankets and 10,000 cots to the state, FEMA officials said Monday.
“We activated to ensure we’re postured to rapidly respond to any needs that California may have to protect life and property,” acting FEMA administrator Ahsha Tribble said in a statement. “We encourage residents in the affected to area to follow the direction of local authorities, and if told to stay out of evacuated areas, please do so.”
March 16: With FEMA facing its deepest scrutiny in more than a decade, the government watchdog in charge of measuring the agency's performance is no longer assessing its initial response to disasters.
The decision by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General to no longer issue preliminary reports comes as the watchdog took the extraordinary step last week of pulling a dozen largely positive assessments of the Obama administration's initial response to several disasters.
Acting DHS Inspector General John V. Kelly said the reports, pulled last week from the IG's web site, didn't meet proper standards for a government audit.
"We were not confident that the evidence collected (in those reports) was necessary to support the conclusion," Kelly said in an interview Thursday. "It doesn't mean the conclusion was wrong (but) our standard is that it has to be adequately supported. You can't say something without having the evidence even if it's true."
March 16: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that additional disaster assistance is available to the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands through an extension of increased federal funding, including direct federal assistance, to the Territory for debris removal and emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of Hurricane Irma beginning on September 5, 2017 and Hurricane Maria beginning on September 16, 2017.
March 16: Trump's FEMA Ignores Climate Change in Strategic Plan for Disaster Response
Under Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency emphasized climate risk. The new plan fails to even mention the words 'climate change' or 'sea level rise.'
March 27: How Trump favored Texas over Puerto Rico
A POLITICO investigation shows a persistent double standard in the president’s handling of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria.
July 12: FEMA says in report that it was underprepared for Hurricane Maria
The report backs up many of the criticisms that were leveled at the emergency relief agency in the immediate aftermath of Maria, one of the worst natural disasters to strike Puerto Rico in modern history.
The report found that FEMA was ill-equipped to respond to the hurricane, following a series of storms that ravaged the Caribbean in the weeks prior.
For example, supplies were moved from a warehouse in San Juan, the territory's capital, to the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma, creating "an immediate deficit of commodities" in Puerto Rico when Maria hit weeks later.
September (undated): This is the main page for up-to-date resources and information on the federal response to Hurricane Florence (North Carolina, etc)
September 12: Trump administration diverted nearly $10 million from FEMA to ICE detention program, according to DHS document
September 13: President Donald Trump's nominee for the No. 2 spot at the Federal Emergency Management Agency withdrew from consideration on Wednesday after NBC News raised questions about a federal investigation that found he had falsified government travel and timekeeping records when he served in the Bush administration in 2005.
"Given the distraction this will cause the Agency in a time when they cannot afford to lose focus, I have withdrawn from my nomination," the former nominee, Daniel A. Craig, said in an email to NBC News.
September 15: FEMA to test 'Presidential Alert' system next week
Experts expressed little concern that the wireless emergency alerts could be used for political purposes.
September 18: Trump can't use FEMA's wireless alerts to send personal messages — it's illegal
Public concern around privacy and abuse of power is offset by legislation put into place to deter any president from mishandling the alert system
Trump will also be unable to track the location of people or access personal phone numbers through the system.
September 20: FEMA Stopped Paying For Hotels For Displaced Puerto Ricans. Now Some Are Homeless.
Other Hurricane Maria evacuees who’ve since managed to get their own place are teetering on the brink of homelessness.
October 9: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's FEMA announced today that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Florida to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the area affected by Hurricane Michael beginning on Oct. 7 and continuing.
November 29: Trump gripes he gets ‘no credit’ for relief efforts in Puerto Rico
President Trump says the amount of money the government spent on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is “beyond belief” and “has to be studied.”
November 29: Congress Probes FEMA For Paying Huge Markups On Puerto Rico Recovery Supplies
-- 2019 --
-- 2020 --
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