Tester presses FEMA Administrator on Montana Flood disaster declaration

Fugate hopes for recommendation “in days, not weeks”

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today pressed the Administrator of FEMA on Montana’s request for a presidential disaster declaration to open up federal resources for communities facing widespread flooding.

In a Senate hearing Tester pushed FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on the status of Governor Brian Schweitzer’s June 1 request.

“Can you give me any insight on how close we’re getting to this declaration from your level?” Tester asked Fugate.  “Can you give us any idea on when we can anticipate this declaration?”

Fugate responded that FEMA was continuing to work on the request and gather needed information—a response that Tester said was not good enough.

“That didn’t answer my question,” said Tester, a member of the Homeland Security Committee which oversees FEMA.  “Can you give me any idea on when that date might be?  Is it going be in a week?  Two weeks?”

“It is moving through now, sir,” Fugate responded.  “I would almost be ready to say days, not weeks.”

Tester also asked Fugate if FEMA resources would be adequate to address weather disasters across the country, in light of a recent decision by the House Appropriations Committee to gut the federal emergency response budget.

Tester used a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing yesterday to highlight how the dramatic cuts made to emergency responders by the House of Representatives could impact Montana communities facing widespread flooding.

Video of Tester’s exchange with Fugate today is available HERE.  Tester’s recently launched online flood resource center is can be found at: tester.senate.gov/flood.