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Disaster Relief Fund Needs $4.6B More, White House Says

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An additional $4.6 billion is needed for the disaster relief fund for fiscal year 2012, according to a White House budget request released Friday.

Kenneth Baer, a White House senior adviser, said on the White House blog the amount would cover the cost of responding to Hurricane Irene as well as outstanding costs of previous disasters.

In a letter to Congress Friday,  Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said more than $1.5 billion would be needed to respond to Hurricane Irene through fiscal year 2012.

Lew said additional $3.3 billion would be needed to deal with costs from previous disasters, such as the Tuscaloosa, Ala. tornado in April and the Joplin, Mo. tornado in May.

According to The Hill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund had less than $800 billion before Hurricane Irene’s landfall. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security subpanel, is expected to move a disaster bill next Tuesday with a much greater amount of funding.

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