For much of the country, the start of hurricane season – which began yesterday – is a reminder to start getting prepared in a case a storm comes. For Donald Trump’s administration, it’s a reminder that the president and his team haven’t prepared at all.
NPR noted yesterday:
This year, key federal agencies that state and local governments and the public depend on still don’t have leaders. Nearly five months after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, NOAA, the agency that oversees the government’s weather forecasting, is still without an administrator, as is the agency that responds to disasters, FEMA.
The president has at least nominated someone to lead FEMA, though the Republican-led Senate has been slow to advance Trump’s choice, but the White House has not yet nominated anyone to serve as FEMA’s deputy administrator or to lead FEMA’s office for protection and national preparedness.
And with a long congressional recess coming up at the end of next month, it may be a long while before anyone is confirmed to oversee these agencies and offices.
Of course, even after entities such as NOAA and FEMA have permanent leaders in place, the departments will have to deal with a serious looming threat that has nothing to do with nature: Trump wants to slash their budgets. From the NPR report:
With no permanent administrator in place for those discussions, FEMA is one of the agencies that have been targeted for significant cuts under the budget the president submitted to Congress. Under that budget, a program that helps states and communities take long-term measures to reduce losses from disasters, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, has been cut by more than 60 percent. The budget also eliminates funding for an ongoing effort to improve and redraw the nation’s flood maps. […]
For states and communities hit by floods, tornadoes, wildfires and other disasters, the Trump budget slashes another important source of recovery funds. The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides money that helps communities rebuild after a disaster, after FEMA has moved on. The Trump budget cuts that $3 billion fund to zero.
Add it to the “elections have consequences” pile.