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If Government Shuts Down, So Does FEMA Aid in Bastrop

Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News.
At the height of the wildfires that left around 34,000 acres scorched, smoke billows behind an American Flag.

The current budget standoff in D.C. has some serious implications for disaster relief efforts here  in Central Texas. As lawmakers scramble to find a short term fix, one thing is becoming clear:  If FEMA doesn't receive new funding, aid work will cease.

In response to a request from KUT News, FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen released this statement outlining what will happen if congress allows the government's disaster relief fund to reach zero.

Under law, FEMA would be forced to temporarily shut down disaster recovery and assistance operations, including financial assistance to individuals until Congress appropriated more funds.  This would include all past and current FEMA recovery operations.

The budget standoff began last week when Republican lawmakers in the House rejected what would traditionally have been a routine bill to extend funding for the federal government into the next fiscal year. Those lawmakers wanted to take some money from a program that provides loans for electric cars to fund emergency response programs, a proposal rejected by the Democratic majority in the Senate.

As of this morning the balance of the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund stood at $114 million dollars, with estimates indicating that FEMA would run out of money by the end of this week.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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