Hurricane watches are now in effect from Grand Isle, La., to Indian Pass, Fla. It’s not yet clear how strong the storm, Hurricane Karen, will become as it moves toward the Gulf Coast. But even though the federal government is shut down, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is getting ready to respond.
In a statement Thursday morning, FEMA said it has begun to recall furloughed employees “necessary to serve functions of the agency that protect life and property.” This is happening in accordance with the agency’s shutdown contingency plan. FEMA’s Hurricane Liaison Team in Miami’s National Hurricane Center was reactivated Thursday morning.
But not every weather agency is up and running. Here is where we would typically give you some information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But its website, NOAA.gov, is currently down due to the shutdown. Ready.gov, a site that helps Americans set up plans for disasters, is not updating during the shutdown.
Despite the shutdown, FEMA is doing more than just getting ready to respond to a possible hurricane. The agency has enough employees on hand to continue its flood-relief efforts in Colorado and its work helping areas of Oklahoma hit by a tornado in May. Part of the reason is that funding for these efforts comes from the Disaster Relief Fund, which isn’t currently affected by the federal government funding lapse.
But FEMA can’t just do everything during a shutdown. On Wednesday, a congressional hearing about the agency’s emergency alert system took place. No one from FEMA was able to attend.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.