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Entries in Federal Funding (4)

Tuesday
Feb072012

Senate Passes Bill to Modernize FAA, Extend Its Funding

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- By a vote of 75-20, the Senate Monday night passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization conference report.

Most notably, the FAA Modernization Reform Act will extend the funding for the FAA through 2015, investing more than $20 billion in airports and runways in the country and on modern air traffic control equipment.

This marks the first long-term reauthorization of the FAA in almost five years -- the agency has worked under 23 short-term extensions since 2007.  The past extensions have just been in two- or three-month increments, time after time.

“It will finally give the FAA the ability it needs to be a world-class travel system,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday. “The aviation jobs bill will also create thousands of jobs, about 300,000," Reid said without elaborating. "It will protect airline workers and approve safety for travelers. This legislation will create badly-needed jobs and will give the FAA the ability to finally upgrade the country's air traffic control system.”

The House of Representatives passed the bill last Friday, so it now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep162011

Napolitano on Disaster Relief Fund: 'We Do Not Have Enough Money'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressed frustration Thursday that Congress has not moved swiftly enough to pass a supplemental funding bill for FEMA in this year of wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes.

“The fight we’re in now is to get money for the disaster relief fund.  We do not have enough money -- given the number of disasters we’ve had this year -- to finish the fiscal year, and to do all the things we have to do,” Napolitano said Thursday at the Aspen Institute.

“I had to have a meeting with my FEMA director about things we will have to stop in places around the United States, unless Congress signals that they’re ready to put a supplemental into the Disaster Relief Fund,” Napolitano said.

There are competing packages in the Senate and House about how much extra money should be provided to FEMA and the agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.  The White House has said that Hurricane Irene will cost $1.5 billion through 2012.  The Office of Management and Budget has said there is an additional $5.2 billion needed for non-Hurricane Irene disaster needs.

“It means existing joint field offices in disaster areas around the country, where we’re doing recovery,” Napolitano said of the implications of the budget crunch and what services may cease without the funding.  “It means public assistance for things like rebuilding fire stations and schools that were destroyed in the tornadoes in the spring and the flooding in the spring, and what we’ve seen recently.  It may even mean going back as far as some of the investments that we made to repair Katrina.”

According to DHS officials, the Disaster Relief Fund currently stands at $351 million.  After Hurricane Irene and deadly spring tornadoes and severe flooding in the Dakotas, the fund has been strained.  In recent weeks, the fund has dropped almost $450 million.  DHS officials said that on Aug. 30, the fund stood at just under $800 million.

FEMA had to place funding restrictions on longer-term repair and rebuilding projects from previous and current disasters because the fund had dropped below $1 billion.  FEMA officials say that when the Disaster Relief Fund has been under $1 billion they have used a funding method called “Immediate Needs Funding,” which prioritizes the immediate needs of disaster survivors, states, and communities during disasters, so that FEMA can continue its focus on response and urgent recovery efforts without any interruption."

“The survivors that are eligible for assistance are still getting funds.  Individual assistance programs were not affected by this, nor was any protective measures, or any debris clearance or any project that had already been approved,” said FEMA Director Craig Fugate said at a White House briefing on Aug. 29, 2011 after Irene had passed up the East Coast.

“The only thing that we have postponed is new projects that are permanent work that had not been started when we go into immediate needs funding.  And that is to ensure that we still have funds to do this response, continue to meet the needs of the survivors of the previous disasters, while supporting the initial response to Hurricane Irene,” he said.

Similar funding limitations went into effect in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar172011

House Passes Bill Stripping Federal Funding for NPR

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a largely symbolic move, the House Thursday voted to block all federal funding for NPR, a week after the embattled public radio station found itself the subject of a conservative activist's sting that led to the ouster of its chief executive.

The bill passed by a 228-192 vote. No Democrats voted for it, and only seven Republicans voted against the measure.

The bill would permanently block all federal funding to NPR and its affiliates and prohibits stations from using federal funds to pay NPR dues and to purchase programming. It would basically bar NPR from applying for grants provided by federal agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Department of Education, Department of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The House GOP continuing resolution that would fund the government for the remainder of the year already rescinds funding for the CPB, which also funds Public Broadcasting Service, and zeroes out millions in funds after that.

The vote is largely symbolic because it's unlikely to pass in the Senate or be signed by President Obama. But after the release of the controversial tape last week, in which former NPR executive Ron Schiller was caught blasting Republicans and the Tea Party with two members of a fictitious Muslim group, Republicans have seized on public broadcasting funding even more.

Schiller also said NPR and most of its member stations would survive without federal funding.

"We saw... on video, executives at NPR saying that they don't need taxpayer dollars," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Thursday. "We are also in the process of making sure that Washington begins to do what every American family and small businessperson is having to do right now. It's called tightening the belt."

The White House Thursday released a statement strongly opposing the bill but did not issue a veto threat.

Democrats charge that Republicans are playing politics at a time when lawmakers should be focused on the economy and jobs, with one member of Congress calling it a "political stunt."

"This bill is a distraction, not a serious piece of legislation," Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said, calling it a "frivolous measure."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Friday
Feb182011

House Votes to Strip Planned Parenthood of Federal Funding

Photo Courtesy - PlannedParenthood[dot]org(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives passed a measure Friday to end federal funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood a day after Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., brought the chamber to stunned silence after describing her own personal experience with abortion.

On Friday afternoon, the House passed the amendment by a vote of 240-185. The House must still vote for final passage on the underlying spending bill before the cuts head to the Senate for a possible vote later this month.

The measure would eliminate cutting about $330 million through the end of September for preventative-health services, including federal funding for contraception and cancer screenings, at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.

Planned Parenthood is already prevented by federal law from using federal dollars for abortion services. The amendment takes away the money they use to provide for family planning, birth control, medical and preventive services.

Speier took to the House floor to respond to comments made by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., against abortion funding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio