GLENWOOD, Iowa — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that he doesn't expect a problem replenishing federal disaster funds.
With the Federal Emergency Management Agency coffers currently at less than $800 million, a payment freeze was declared after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast last weekend. Similar stoppages have occurred when the FEMA disaster relief fund dropped below $1 billion.
Still, Grassley said, a battle is expected in Congress as lawmakers decide whether to allocate additional funds to help cover disasters like the ongoing Missouri River flooding.
"In the past we voted for the money with no problem," he told a crowd of about 55 people during a town hall meeting here.
But the Republican senator said that given the current climate in Washington, D.C., including the campaign of fiscal restraint ushered in with the 2010 elections, the money for disaster aid would have to be offset by spending cuts.
"It's just not adding willy-nilly to the national debt," he said. "It's probably a good fiscal policy."
Finding the money won't be a problem, Grassley said, noting that budget surpluses from other departments or programs could be used.
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