Is FEMA funded? Well, it is a government agency so of course it is. The big question is whether it is funded enough. Times have changed over the last 20 years. The agency’s responsibilities have changed. The economy has changed and even the politics have changed. In the case of FEMA, however, the politics have not changed for the best and now the agency even has to fight to continue to exist.
To start with it is best to look at the agency’s role before the thoughts of funding or terminating the agency can even be entertained. 20 years ago, in the time following the Cold War, the majority of FEMA’s focus was on natural disasters, whether it was hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, snow storms or even the outbreak of an epidemic.
In the wake of 9/11 things have changed a great deal. At that time it was folded into the Department of Homeland Security as the nature of the threats to the US seem to change. They were really the same as they had been but now we had an example of worse case scenario. FEMA did, if fact, have a very big role in the recovery efforts. Of the 28 search and rescue teams, 25 were deployed with 20 of them ending up in New York. While that was important it was not its most important role. Not only did FEMA pay for their own search effort but was around long afterward making sure Federal money was properly dispersed.
In the time since 9/11 FEMA has had to focus their planning effort more on being ready for another terrorist attack. This meant more training and equipment for the possibility of a gas or biological attack. Such an attack would likely strike more than one city at once so that had to be prepared for. They had to do all this on the same budget while still doing the old job. When NASA noticed how many near misses with asteroids we had they had to prepare for that as well.
Take a moment and think of when FEMA started getting so much heated criticism. There were the Southern Florida Hurricane in 2004. There was Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Then the Buffalo snowstorm in 2006, the Dumas Arkansas tornadoes and California wildfires in 2007 and the American Samoa Tsunami of 2009. It seems FEMA has been stretched as thin as it can go.