January 29, 2013
Areas hit by Hurricane Sandy should be and are getting federal aid, but additional funding should be evaluated carefully to ensure it is used for actual emergencies and one-time expenses, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.“Some folks insist on believing that many in the House and Senate are denying Hurricane Sandy aid. Don’t believe it. In the Senate, I voted for legislation that would provide nearly $24 billion to the communities affected. However, the majority rejected that proposal in favor of a $60 billion bill that included funding programs not directly related to Hurricane Sandy or even related to disaster relief at all. I voted against that wasteful bill,” Enzi said. “This week another $50 billion bill passed by the House came up and the Senate passed it, but the majority rejected an amendment offered by Sen. Lee of Utah that would have cut discretionary spending by half a percent over the next few years to pay for these additional costs.”
Enzi said the House passed a $9.7 billion emergency bill Jan. 4. The Senate signed off on it and President Obama signed it Jan. 6. This week’s Sandy aid bill’s price tag is about $50 billion, which would make the total around $60 billion.
“We should help those in need, but big-spending lawmakers shouldn’t take advantage of popular emergency funding bills in order to pay for non-emergency needs. Since there are emergencies every year, we should budget for them and not have to borrow money every time there is a natural disaster. We should also limit how many years a disaster is still called an emergency and paid for with newly printed money or new debt,” Enzi said. “The high-dollar Senate proposal costs almost as much as we spent to run all of the Department of Health and Human Services for a year. We have to be more realistic about our finances and that also means making sure emergency funds are properly appropriated.”