Leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee say they have reached a deal with House lawmakers on legislation to strengthen the Federal Emergency Management Agency and keep it within the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Announcing the agreement on Sept. 16, Senate homeland security panel Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and the committee's top Democrat, Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), said the legislation would include tougher requirements for FEMA's chief and protect the agency from DHS reorganizations.

They say the deal sets the stage for attaching the FEMA language to the homeland security appropriations bill. Final approval of that spending bill could come before Congress adjourns.