Can Trump withhold FEMA money from California?
President Donald Trump Tuesday tweeted a threat to cut off funding to help victims of California wildfires.
Can Trump do it? The answer is complicated.
Trump’s idea was blasted by Democrats as a callous, empty threat, and even California Republicans released statements saying it was the wrong approach to the problem of forest management.
Q: Can Trump withhold FEMA funds from California?
A: Trump already declared a national emergency in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise. Current law states that where there is a disaster declaration, the president cannot “delay or impede the rapid deployment, use, and distribution of critical resources to victims of an emergency.”
However, Trump could start refusing to make disaster declarations for California wildfires.
Q: Has a president ever threatened to cut off FEMA funding to a state before?
A: Presidents have denied requests for emergency declarations, but there is no evidence these denials were based on hostility toward a particular state.
Q: What has Trump done to promote forest management in California?
A: Forest management budgets and regulations regarding forest management are written into state and federal law, so Trump is limited in what changes he could make. The budget for forest management on federal lands is set by Congress.
However, in Trump’s budget proposal to Congress last year, he proposed slashing the forest management budget by tens of millions of dollars in the last fiscal year and this one.