President Bush is signing a homeland security spending bill today that aims to improve the federal response to emergencies like Hurricane Katrina.
The measure strips disaster preparedness from the portfolio of FEMA, so that the agency can concentrate on reacting to big storms and their immediate aftermath.
FEMA's response to Katrina was widely criticized, and its director resigned soon after. Some critics say the agency lost direction when it was folded into the Department of Homeland Security.
The $32 billion spending bill boosts overall funding for homeland efforts by five percent. However, it includes fewer grants for local first responders and a freeze in funding for security on passenger rail and subway systems.
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