Arkansas senator takes on FEMA over duplicate payment recoupments

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's efforts to recoup duplicate payments of disaster relief funds have caused controversy after an Arkansas senator stood up for two recipients, according to the Washington Examiner.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it was no longer actively seeking repayment from Mountain View residents Gary and Dorothy Guglielmana after Democratic Senator Mark Pryor threatened to delay the Senate vote on Treasury Department nominees. The Guglielmanas received $27,000 after a 2008 flood, despite being ineligible because of a local law. Due to interest and debt collection fees levied by the IRS, the couple now owes $37,000.

"To me, that's money that never should have gone out the door in the first place," said Pryor, as quoted by Federal News Radio. "FEMA's people working the floods … should've known when they deal with local people who have a loss what benefits they might be eligible for and not."

Reuters reports that since Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner suspended the Guglielmanas' case pending further information, Pryor has released his hold on two of seven Treasury nominees. 

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