From the Summary: "The Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) is one of the most-tracked single accounts funded by Congress each year. Managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it is the primary source of funding for the federal government's domestic general disaster relief programs. These programs, authorized under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.), outline the federal role in supporting state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as they respond to and recover from a variety of incidents. They take effect in the event that nonfederal levels of government find their own capacity to deal with an incident is overwhelmed. [...] At the end of FY2019, the DRF carried over a balance of more than $29 billion, and Congress was considering the largest annual appropriation for disaster relief for the third year in a row. [...] Examining the history of the DRF and the programs it supports may help Congress consider future approaches to disaster relief. This report introduces the DRF and provides a brief history of federal disaster relief programs. It goes on to discuss the appropriations that fund the DRF, and provides a funding history from FY1964 to the present day, discussing factors that contributed to those changing appropriations levels. It concludes with discussion of how the budget request for the DRF has been developed and structured, given the unpredictability of the annual budgetary impact of disasters, and raises some potential issues for congressional consideration."
CRS Report for Congress, R45484
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/