President Obama praised Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, center, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, right, and the federal government’s response to Hurricane Irene on Sunday. (Mannie Garcia/VIA BLOOMBERG)

In the next few weeks, the agency faces the prospect of trying to respond to disasters in several states without enough funding because a newly cost-conscious Congress is reluctant to spend money on anything — including disasters — without offsetting it with cuts elsewhere.

Republicans, who control the House and have driven hard bargains on spending cuts all year, have insisted that there will be enough money for disaster relief. But they also pledged that additional spending will mean cuts in other areas.

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