Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations [January 26, 2010] [open pdf - 353KB]
From the Document: "When a state is overwhelmed by an emergency or disaster, the governor may request assistance from the federal government. Federal assistance is contingent on whether the President issues an emergency or major disaster declaration. Once the declaration has been issued the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides disaster relief through the use of the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which is the source of funding for the Robert T. Stafford Emergency Relief and Disaster Assistance Act response and recovery programs. Congress appropriates money to the DRF to ensure that funding for disaster relief is available to help individuals and communities stricken by emergencies and major disasters (in addition, Congress appropriates disaster funds to other accounts administered by other federal agencies pursuant to federal statutes that authorize specific types of disaster relief). The DRF is generally funded at a level that is sufficient for what are known as 'normal' disasters. These are incidents for which DRF outlays are less than $500 million dollars. When a large disaster occurs, funding for the DRF may be augmented through emergency supplemental appropriations. A supplemental appropriation generally provides additional budget authority during the current fiscal year to: (1) finance activities not provided for in the regular appropriation; or (2) provide funds when the regular appropriation is deemed insufficient."
CRS Report for Congress, R40708