Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Trump revives threats to withhold FEMA funds from California fire recovery

Trump revives threats to withhold FEMA funds from California fire recovery

Whether Mr. Trump can legally withdraw FEMA funding was unclear.

"Although I share the president's great frustration with California's choking regulations from the stranglehold environmental groups have on the state, as well as the inaction on federal lands up until this administration, the immediate problem for fire victims is the first need", said Rep. Doug LaMalfa, the California Republican who represents Paradise. On other occasions Trump has adopted a right-wing conspiracy theory blaming California wildfires on state water policies he pretty clearly does not understand.

Amid a partial government shutdown that is headed into its third week with no end in sight, President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding for California - now recovering from its deadliest wildfire in history.

Trump's tweet today comes as he faces heat over the ongoing government shutdown, in which FEMA is partially affected.

Still, Trump has not backed off, and on Wednesday appeared to escalate his threats to withhold federal dollars if unspecified programs are not reformed. Dianne Feinstein said, "It's absolutely shocking for President Trump to suggest he would deny disaster assistance to communities destroyed by wildfire".

FEMA has disbursed almost $56 million to Camp Fire survivors and has been working with state officials on plans to remove debris from Paradise, which was virtually destroyed by the fire. An email sent to them generated this automated reply: "Due to the federal funding hiatus, we are not able to respond to general press queries".

"We have been put in office by the voters to get things done, not to play games with lives", Newsom tweeted.

Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen.

Newsom, a Democrat, says "disaster and recovery are no time for politics".

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on the intent of the president's tweet. Attacking victims is yet another low for this president ...

"We should work together to mitigate these fires by combating climate change, not play politics by threatening to withhold money from survivors of a deadly natural disaster", Ms Harris wrote on Twitter.

Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also of California, had challenged McCarthy to condemn Trump's comments. The Camp Fire death toll would later rise to 86 people. "I mean, we had the (most destructive) wildfire in California history". Federal agencies manager 57 percent of the approximately 33 million acres of forest in the state, according to research done by the University of California.

Incoming California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) responded to the president's tweet, saying he and the governors of Washington and OR had just sent a letter on Tuesday, requesting the federal government's assistance in battling wildfires in the western states.

Trump's latest tweet came just one day after Brown, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent the president a letter asking him to double funding for wildfire prevention projects on federal lands.

Individual assistance differs from public assistance, which is money designated by FEMA to states to help fund infrastructure repairs related to the relevant disaster.

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