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Kentucky Association of Counties


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Budget resolution passes, funding restored for FEMA disaster relief

On Saturday, Sept. 30 – just hours before the deadline – Congress passed a spending bill that averted a government shutdown.

HR 5860 was signed into law by Pres. Biden over the weekend, allowing the federal government to stay open through Nov. 17, 2023 – and make payments for disaster relief.

“Congress passed a resolution to fund [the government] for an additional 45 days, and in that resolution was an additional allotment of funding for FEMA,” said Stephanie Robey, Assistant Director of Administration for Kentucky Emergency Management. Robey spoke Tuesday to a group of county officials attending a KACo training in Frankfort.

As the federal government approached the budget deadline and before the resolution passed, funding to replenish FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund was put on hold.

“Prior to this, with the thought that there was going to be a shutdown, FEMA instituted what they call ‘immediate needs funding’ and that was only going to fund life-saving measures,” said Robey.

In testimony provided to Congress in September, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell testified that the agency has had to “pause obligations to over 1,000 Public Assistance projects across the country worth over $1.5 billion.”

That pause impacted counties still working to rebuild from recent disasters, including the 2021 tornado in west Kentucky and the 2022 historical flooding in eastern Kentucky. Counties rely on critical funding from FEMA’s Public Assistance Program to provide financial support and assist with long-term rebuilding after natural disasters.

The budget resolution includes disaster relief funding worth $16 billion. That means counties relying on FEMA to continue their rebuilding efforts can continue their work.


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