LLPH applauds and thanks Rep. Yoder for standing up for the next generation against more debt. Had the Mulvaney Amendment (which Mr. Yoder supported) been passed, it would have offset the spending in this bill. Kicking the can to the next generation is wrong.
I could not support the final package of this legislation for the following reasons:
• With all of the amendments passed the final package totaled over $60 billion. This is simply too big and too much to appropriate all at one time and is far greater than the amount that could be spent this year. In fact, less that 10% of this funding will be spent in 2013. According to the CBO, only $3.83 billion will actually be spent this year in disaster relief.
• The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 added approximately $60 billion to the national debt. Not one dollar of it was offset from other government programs. For comparison, this amount is equal to the President’s recent tax increase for the upcoming year. The new taxes that have been raised as part of the fiscal cliff bill will all go to new spending – none will go toward paying down the annual deficit.
• There are not adequate controls in place to ensure these dollars would only go to Hurricane Sandy emergency relief. The legislation included $2 billion to federal highway improvements, $25 million toward improving weather-forecasting systems and $118 million for Amtrak upgrades. While arguably valuable projects, these and other items were not “emergency” related and do not go towards immediate relief to help victims.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I recognize that additional resources may be needed for the long-term recovery from this storm. However, these funding requests should go through the traditional Appropriations process, which provide greater oversight and transparency.
I simply could not write a $60 billion check without greater spending controls, transparency, and accountability.