The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The agency's primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities.
FEMA is used by President Frank Underwood to further his jobs program America Works when it is denied congressional funding. Through use of the Stafford Act, Underwood declares unemployment in the United States an 'emergency', and proceeds to use the agency's $3 billion Disaster Relief Fund to finance a pilot program in Washington, D.C. To ensure he has control of the agency, Underwood fires Homeland Security Secretary Steven Travers. Without a secretary to report to, FEMA is forced to report to the President. He also threatens Administrator Arnold Silva's job, threatening if he did not comply he would be disastrously replaced with somebody with much less experience.