WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas said on Wednesday he was putting all nominees for positions at the Treasury Department on hold because of a dispute involving a couple who received emergency aid that the government now wants back.
The dispute dates back to 2008 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave the Guglielmana family in Mountain View, Ark., $27,000 in disaster assistance after a flood.
FEMA now says the money was paid in error and it wants it back along with penalties and interest that raise the total to $37,000.
FEMA has handed responsibility for collecting the debt to the Treasury Department.
Pryor said that FEMA had helped the Guglielmanas to fill out paperwork to claim the assistance and now cited only "some technical reason" for saying the money was paid in error and must be given back.
"They worked a great hardship on this family," Pryor said in a statement, adding that if they were forced to pay it back it could ruin them financially.
"I am putting Treasury on notice that I'm going to hold all of their nominees until we sit down and work through this and hopefully get a good, fair result for this one family in Arkansas," Pryor said.
The hold would mean that no nominee for a Treasury position could be brought up for a vote on the Senate floor unless Pryor agreed to it.
(Reporting by Glenn Somerville, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)