SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – California Governor Jerry Brown asked the federal government for aid related to damage from winter storms. But it’s up to one person to decide whether California gets federal emergency funds, and that person is President Donald Trump.

KPIX 5 political analyst Melissa Caen said only the president makes this decision. There is no higher power, which could make the state’s battles against Mr. Trump awkward.

The request comes as Brown and other California politicians have made it clear time and time again that California can and will go its own way when it comes to the Trump administration’s agenda.

For example, just two months ago, Brown said if Trump scraps climate research satellites, California would “launch its own damn satellite.”

But on Friday, Brown sent a letter to the White House asking the president to declare the situation in California a major disaster, that way the state can get some emergency federal funds.

It is possible that Trump will take this opportunity to remind Brown of California’s independent streak, and say no or approve a limited declaration.

Caen said the previous administrations have denied emergency requests. For example, President Barack Obama said no to Florida Gov. Rick Scott when he requested FEMA help with an algae problem. Mr. Obama also refused to declare a federal emergency over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

When the president says no, there’s only one thing a governor can do, file an appeal with the president.

It is unclear if Trump would issue a denial. He hasn’t said anything publicly yet and he could simply deem the flood a major disaster without any issue.

There are also some powerful California Republicans in Congress, such as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who could lobby on the state’s behalf.

Dr. Ahsha Tribble, the acting FEMA Regional Administrator weighed in, saying, “Ultimately, the President has the final say in who and how disaster declarations get approved.”

Congressman Tom McClintock is a Republican whose district has been hit hard by the flooding and he says expects that Trump will approve the request.

He also said he think Brown’s full blown opposition of Trump isn’t helping.

“I don’t think he’s doing honor for the state of California, but that’s between him and the voters,” McClintock said.

California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris have written to Trump in support of Brown’s request.

McClintock said there are additional letters circulating around California, penned by both Democratic and Republican legislators, urging Trump to declare the situation an emergency.

Comments (24)
  1. Wade Rose says:

    “Mr. Obama also refused to declare a federal emergency over the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.”

    Um, what? The headline here says otherwise:

    1. Thank you for questioning that? Where do these people get these lies from?

  2. David Will says:

    Hey, jerry brown does not need Fed$. He has made that abundantly clear. He should just raise the cow fart tax and get the money he needs from that. just think how the cow farts are killing the Cali environment!! anyway. who the hell needs meat farmers anyway.

    1. You are talking about your fellow Americans. What is wrong with you? This should not be a political hostage situation. These are people like you and me who need help. Should we not help because someone disagrees with the president? We all know that if your house was washed away, you would most likely ask for help. It’s not like it’s free money, it’s a low interest loan to rebuild. Americans help when asked. Patriots help when asked.

  3. Laura Macky says:

    California is a crumbling mess. Funny how PG&E got raked over the coals *and rightly so* about the San Bruno explosion and is made to pay millions of dollars and replace old gas pipes. Who is on the hook for this? This was brought to the forefront 12 years ago!

    1. Complete and utter bull shlt. California is the 6th largest economy on the planet bigger than most countries in the world. We drive global computer hi-tech innovation forward in the Silicon Valley, and lead the way in aerospace. We host headquarters for numerous international corporate giants like Apple, Google, TRW, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Tesla, Lockheed, Hughes, Yahoo to name just a few. California’s agriculture industry produces over $47 billion in products each year. Californians create lion’s share of video and musical entertainment media for the world. Annually over 243 million tourists flocked to our state spending upwards of $120 billion. Other than that we’re just stoned, slow and lazy!!

  4. Little Donny is incapable of dealing with reality. He cannot take the negative consequences of his actions and makes up lies to cover for himself. He and his minions are the worst for creating and propagating fake news and yet he tries to blame those who were telling the truth for what he does himself.

    The fact that little Donny is still praising Vladimir Putin and condoning his actions is beyond comprehension. Putin is a murderer, war criminal and most of his actions are in direct contradiction to American ideals. Putin must have some serious dope on Little Donny for him to bend over his desk every time the Russian wind blows. When Trump ran for president the actual ticket should have read Vladimir Putin / Steve Bannon not Donny Trump / Mikey Pence. Impeach this idiot before he self-destructs and brings the entire nation down!

    1. If Putin is as bad as you say (and I believe him to absolutely be) – why did Obama essentially laugh at Romney on National Television when he warned of Russia; then, as our president, go on to cancel our NASA manned launch program – only to have us have to share rides on Russian ships? If you don’t believe me (I’m sure you’ll say I’m making this up) – here it is from CNN. – I also remember the day Obama told the American people that the cancellation of our Space Shuttle program was in our best interests; and our future with Russia was bright. Most of us new better; especially those who live by Kennedy Space Center (like my family) – and got the jobs doing inventory when staff was laid off in favor of the Russians. Written by someone whom neither likes Trump nor Obama – nor SoCal (was so happy to get out of there).

  5. Jerry Brown is a hypocrite first saying he does not need the federal government and now is begging for Trumps help.

  6. Pat Snelling says:

    Do you remember Bush’s response to California during the “Rolling-Blackouts” in 2001?

    Voters said they wanted a guy with OUT government experience. Why would we think he wouldn’t be incompetent?