Cue the wavy-lens time travel music, since here is Tom DeLay in 2001, taking credit for getting an additional $1.3 billion allocated to FEMA, on top of the disbursement of some $583 million in disaster relief for Tropical Storm Allison in 2001--pretty much all of the agency's remaining budget at the time. Most of the funds went to assistance to Houston, where his district largely sits, which bore the brunt of flood damage from the storm:
"We've attained our goal of equipping FEMA with the resources they need to carry out their responsibilities," DeLay said Wednesday. "I'm also pleased that the White House has released additional funds to help Houston recover from the damage inflicted by Tropical Storm Allison."
And what might those FEMA responsiblities be, for which DeLay fought his own party--and the Bush White House--at the time to fund? Well, cue that sound spooky harp-distortion soundtrack, because here is Tom DeLay today:
The emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up . . . . It's the local officials trying to handle the problem. When they can't handle the problem, they go to the state, and the state does what they can to, and if they need assistance from FEMA and the federal government they ask for it and it's delivered"
Translation: FEMA needed $1.3 billion in 2001 to wait for a phone call from the plucky, exhausted mayor of Houston. -- HOLLY MARTINS
White House Releases Rest of FEMA's Disaster Money [Houston Chronicle]