The Senate Appropriations committee has approved a $4.2 billion increase for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Senator Patrick Leahy says the fund had fallen to inadequate levels before the Irene hit. Leahy sits on the Appropriations committee and says the approval of an increase in disaster relief funds adds momentum to efforts to secure sufficient help for Vermont and other states hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene.
But the bill faces several more steps and a counterpart bill in the House does not include a post-Irene increase for the fund.
And some lawmakers have said they won’t support an increase in the fund unless a corresponding amount of money is cut from the federal budge.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he intends to support a separate stand-alone disaster relief bill.