Lawmakers from the northeast, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), are accusing Congress of being “selfish” for not holding a vote on a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill before lawmakers adjourned for the last time.
But as The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Payne reminds us, the law wasn’t really about helping the hurricane’s victims:
The real “selfishness and duplicity,” however, comes from those who insist that this bill is meant for Sandy’s victims—when in reality, it is a special-interest money fest. This is a terrible way to treat storm victims, by piling on other projects and tying them to an emotional legislative vote.
The bill includes billions of dollars in extraneous funding not relevant to Sandy victims.
The estimate of insured losses from Sandy comes in around $20 billion—but the total aid package proposed is three times that amount. Roughly $28 billion of the request is marked for future disaster-mitigation projects. …
Other questionable items in the package, which have received wide media coverage, include money for fisheries in Alaska, free money for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and repairs to the Smithsonian. Heritage’s Patrick Louis Knudsen adds that “there is the truly audacious $17 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, an embarrassingly transparent slush fund.”
According to Heritage’s Matt Mayer, the administration’s spending request “reflects the President’s cavalier attitude toward spending and deficits.”
He intends to exploit loopholes in the Budget Control Act that allow this new spending, above existing spending limits, without offsets. In an era of chronic trillion-dollar deficits, this is an act of willful fiscal negligence.
Hurricane Sandy affected multiple states and millions of citizens. Do you think lawmakers should can find a fiscally responsible way to fund recovery efforts?