WASHINGTON -- As Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, there should be plenty of money -- some $1.5 billion -- in federal disaster aid coffers, thanks to a new system that budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur.
It's a system that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee-to-be for vice president, had hoped to scrap as a way to make his House GOP budget look smaller by about $10 billion a year. Politely, party elders told him no way.
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The Obama administration was the driving force behind the new disaster funding scheme and made it part of last summer's hard-fought budget pact, even though President Barack Obama himself had given short shrift to budgeting for disasters prior to a spate of disasters early last year.