Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations [April 12, 2011] [open pdf - 315KB]
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. [...] This report describes the various components of the DRF, including (1) what authorities have shaped it over the years; (2) how FEMA determines the amount of the appropriation requested to Congress (pertaining to the DRF); and (3) how emergency supplemental appropriations are requested. In addition to the DRF, information is provided on funds appropriated in supplemental appropriations legislation to agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Aspects of debate concerning how disaster relief is budgeted are also highlighted and examined, and alternative budgetary options are summarized."
CRS Report for Congress, R40708