Congress is set to approve a multi‐billion dollar aid package for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Much of the funding will be for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The figure below shows real, or inflation‐adjusted, spending on FEMA since 1970. (FEMA was created in 1979, but federal budget figures include spending on predecessor agencies). Put aside the mid‐2000s spike from Katrina, and you can see that FEMA spending has trended strongly upwards. FEMA spending averaged $1 billion a year in the 1980s, $3 billion a year in the 1990s, and more than $10 billion a year recently.
Background on FEMA’s history, role, and performance here. DownsizingGovernment charting utility here.