With Hurricane Harvey recently devastating Texas and Hurricane Irma expected to slam into Florida and the Southeast later this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is largely out of money, according to news reports.
Bloomberg reports FEMA only had $1.01 billion on hand as of 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, with just $541 million of that “immediately available” for response and recovery efforts. The spend rate at the agency as Harvey assistance continues is $9.3 million per hour.
At that rate, the agency will be completely drained when Irma strikes, unless Congress approves additional funding this week. The Trump administration has asked lawmakers to add nearly $8 billion to FEMA’s cofers. A vote on that is expected in the House of Representatives Wednesday, with the Senate to follow shortly thereafter. There is some speculation the Senate may attach a rider suspending the federal debt limit to the FEMA funding bill, which would require another vote by the House.
FEMA’s financial crisis comes at what could be a critical time. Harvey is expected to be the most expensive hurricane in U.S. history and Irma is being called “catastrophic” by storm watchers. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose, also brewing in the Atlantic, is expected to become a hurricane later today.
Hurricane season, meanwhile, doesn’t hit its peak for another four days—and doesn’t end until Nov. 30.