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FEMA administrator under investigation for travel, use of government cars

FEMA administrator under investigation for travel, use of government cars

In addition to the $9.8 million in FEMA money that ended up funding things like "Detention Beds" and ICE's "Transportation and Removal Program", DHS redirected tens of millions from other agencies.

"The Trump administration appears to have diverted almost $10 million in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency at the forefront of the president's zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to the separation of hundreds of children, some as young as 18 months, from their parents", the Post reported.

"This is a scandal", Merkley said in a statement provided to HuffPost. The total DHS budget for fiscal 2018 was $65 billion; FEMA's total budget was $15.5 billion.

Merkely said he believes the budgeting reallocation happened in response to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy, which was rolled out earlier this year.

"This is a sorry attempt to push a false agenda at a time when the administration is focused on assisting millions on the East Coast facing a catastrophic disaster", Houston said. Watch above, via MSNBC.

He based his claim on a 39-page Department of Homeland Security transfer and reprogramming report dated August 31.

Some of the $10 million was coming from FEMA categories including "Response and Recovery", "Mitigation" and "Preparedness and Protection" - categories that, while sounding as if they would involve hurricane response, do not.

Merkley rejected DHS's claim in an appearance on "The Rachel Maddow Show" Tuesday night, noting that the budget document he obtained shows the "money came from response and recovery".

"Under no circumstances was any disaster relief funding transferred from FEMA to immigration enforcement efforts", Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton said.

The documents surfaced, however, just as Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the American coast and is expected to make landfall on Thursday night at North Carolina and SC.

The Department of Homeland Security pushed back against Merkley's claims on Wednesday, saying that the funds were unspent money from operational accounts for training, office supplies and headquarters costs, which can not be spent on disaster response, according to The Associated Press.

Though the DHS further claimed the money for its operation will come from the agency's budgets for travel, training, public engagement and information technology work, the document in question implied FEMA and nine other agencies had approximately one percent taken from their budgets to be put toward ICE's detention facilities. "DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs".

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the other transferred funds.

Houlton stated that the funds did not come from disaster relief funding, which is a separate pool of money within FEMA, and therefore could not have been used for hurricane response. This would also include travel to his home in Hickory, North Carolina.

The revelation, just ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall in North and SC, was found by Sen.

But officials and advocates say the request is a sign that the Trump administration is forging ahead with his hard-line immigration platform and will use it to rally support for Republican candidates in the November midterm elections. "I think what the American people would like to hear is what can we learn from Puerto Rico, from the Virgin Islands and from Texas, so we can do it better", he said.

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