FEMA article on potential lapse in funding

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While we are hopeful Congress will act this week, DHS and FEMA face the potential for a lapse in appropriations. FEMA would have to furlough the majority of permanent employees after 11:59 p.m. on February 27 if we do not receive funding.

 Without an annual appropriation, the small number of impacted FEMA staff who are exempt from furlough may only provide services that directly apply to the protection of human life, safety or the protection of property. A number of our partners may also be impacted as follows:

 During a lapse in funding, DHS/FEMA will acknowledge -but cannot process - requests from governors or tribal leaders for presidential declarations of a major disaster or emergency unless the request is determined necessary for the protection of life and property.  Disaster recovery support for states, tribes and communities affected by previous disasters will be significantly impacted – recovery payments for presidential disaster declarations will cease because FEMA staff that process Public Assistance payments will be furloughed. 

 A lack of a full-year appropriation complicates FEMA’s ability to award a wide array of preparedness grant funds over the remainder of the fiscal year, including to critical needs, such as Emergency Management Performance Grants, which support the salaries of critical emergency management personnel nationwide. Without the matching federal grants, our state, territorial, local, and tribal partners may face difficult choices about how they will make ends meet or be forced to curtail their activities.

 Processing of incoming applications for FY14 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) or Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) awards, impacting thousands of fire departments around the country, will be delayed.  SAFER, AFG and Fire Prevention and Safety program grantees will not be able to draw down funds during a lapse in appropriations. 

 A lapse in funding will increase the number of state and local first responders who will miss critical training opportunities to meet the Nation’s emergency needs. During a lapse, FEMA will be unable to provide vital specialized training to hundreds of first responders at our training facilities, which have unique training capabilities unavailable elsewhere.