Democrats live by the dictum “never let a good crisis go to waste.” What better way to insert their campaign wish list into a Hurricane Sandy disaster aid bill?
To that end, Obama has submitted a $60.4 billion dollar aid request for recovery of damage from Hurricane Sandy. His proposal is chock full of items from his campaign wish list, and will be considered before the Senate this week.
In case you were thinking that the $60 billion price tag sounds too steep, you’re not missing something. Only $11.5 billion will go towards FEMA’s disaster relief fund. CBO projects that 64% of the funds will not be spent until FY 2015. The entire rationale of an emergency bill is that the aid money is desperately needed now. The fact that much of the funds will not be spent for several years reveals this as a liberal stimulus bill. Here are some of the items on Obama’s Santa list.
- There are several requests for studying global warming in this bill
- The bill requests another $9.7 billion for the National Flood Insurance Program, a 47% increase. This is after the program has already received billions in taxpayer bailout money.
- Other wasteful spending includes, $9 million to replace vehicles, $24.1 million to plant trees, and $32 million for Amtrak, $17 billion to the Community Development Fund, $500 million for Social Services Block Grants, $1 million for the Legal Services Corporation, and $150 million for fishery disasters as far away from the impact zone as American Samoa!
This is what happens when the federal government gets involved in every pork project throughout the country. There is no money left for real disasters. As the Heritage Foundation notes:
The reality is that if FEMA had conserved its resources for events such as Hurricane Sandy, it would have even more funds available in the DRF for the response and recovery from Sandy. In less than two years, FEMA has issued 353 declarations—despite the absence of major hurricanes or earthquakes (except Hurricanes Irene and Sandy). No other two-year period even comes close to this level of activity.
Obama and Reid know that this bill will never pass the House. That’s why they plan to circumvent regular order by attaching the Sandy relief bill to H.R. 1 – the Military Construction appropriations bill, which already passed the House. So even though the entirety of this bill is non-germane to the content of the noncontroversial bill that passed the House, it will never go back to the full House for another vote. This will allow liberals in both parties to bypass the House rank-and-file and head straight to a conference committee.
The irony is that were Obama to get his way on raising marginal tax rates and CapGains and dividends taxes on the rich, it would bring in roughly $50 billion in revenue the first year. That would be wiped out entirely by this aid/pork package, which is totally unpaid for.
The bottom line is that Republicans in the Senate must resist the temptation to vote for something simply because of the mellifluous sounding title placed on the top of the bill.
Cross-posted from The Madison Project