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  • Hurricane Sandy and FEMA Abuse

    Last week, President Obama issued a request for $60.4 billion for Hurricane Sandy response and recovery. Yet as the fiscal cliff continues to loom nearby, many on Capitol Hill are asking exactly where that money would come from.

    While House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) has indicated that he is still evaluating the President’s request and deciding how to move forward, others in both the House and the Senate are calling for Hurricane Sandy spending to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget—and they’ve been quick to take heat for it.

    Senator Dick Durbin (D–IL) has stated, “This is fundamentally unfair for some Republicans to insist on offsets for Sandy.… This notion that we have to cut money out of the budget, Medicare, you name it, to offset each of these disasters is unrealistic and unfair.”

    Let’s put aside the tugging on Americans’ heartstrings for a minute and see if the facts paint a different picture.

    First of all, let’s look at how we got here. At present, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has roughly $5 billion left in its Disaster Relief Fund and $5.4 billion still available under the cap put in place by last year’s Budget Control Act. Proponents of the President’s spending proposal, however, argue that this is not nearly enough.

    This should be no surprise, after all. With 353 disaster declarations issued in less than two years, FEMA has been made to respond to all manners of disasters, no matter how big or small. For those of you who didn’t already do the math, that’s about one disaster every two days. No wonder, then, that FEMA’s coffers are low.

    And then, of course, you have the President’s request itself, which can be called nothing less than an act of “willful fiscal negligence.”

    Roughly $28 billion of the request is marked for future disaster-mitigation projects on the East Coast, including $3.2 million for erosion control projects and $15 billion for Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants. As Heritage’s Matt Mayer explains, “[S]etting aside whether these projects have merit, a supplemental spending request to deal with a current crisis is not the appropriate vehicle to propose new spending projects.”

    Among other components of the request, just to name a few:

    • $3 billion for federal departments and agencies to repair or replace federal assets, including $2 million for roof repairs at the Smithsonian;
    • $200 million for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be used freely at the discretion of the Secretary; and
    • $6 million to purchase food for food banks, a need that could be better met by local companies and the nonprofit sector.

    Remove unnecessary items from the Administration’s request, and you’re left with a request of $12.8 billion in supplemental funds.

    It is time that FEMA stop being made to respond to all manners of routine disasters, so that when truly catastrophic disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy) strike, FEMA and its pocketbook are prepared.

    Proponents of looking at offsets for the hurricane supplemental have a point. As Mayer explains, “[T]oo much of the Obama Administration’s supplemental request for Hurricane Sandy includes items best left for its upcoming budget.… Because of the federal government’s dire fiscal condition, underscored by the current fiscal cliff negotiations, spending reductions should offset any additional spending.”

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Hurricane Sandy and FEMA Abuse

    1. LadyLiberty says:

      Again why have a cap if all they will do is remove it. Maybe the government shouldn't be in the flood insurance business to begin with. Two Republican governors want the rest of America to bail them out Bloomberg and Christie keep that in mind.

      FEMA may seek flood insurance bailout after Sandy

      snip

      The National Flood Insurance Program, a FEMA subsidiary, has $2.9 billion in borrowing capacity
      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/14/us-stor

      Not Yours to Give
      http://www.fee.org/library/detail/not-your-to-giv

      Uncle Sam's Flood Machine (very good article)
      http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/uncle-sams-

      Flashback

      Taxpayers Get Soaked by Government's Flood Insurance
      http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Insurance/story?id

      FEMA Flood Insurance Program Primarily Benefits The Wealthy: Study
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/21/fema-flo

      Here's How Beyonce Got A $425,000 FEMA Bailout For Her Damaged Galveston Beach House
      http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-05-03/ne

    2. @Miller51550 says:

      Is it NOT ABOUT TIME…

      Someone STARTING asking where this money is coming from.

      I have had several instances in the last 10 years where I HAVE had six foot of water in my home.. iN FLOOD PLAIN.

      And FEMA turned me down.. for a LOAN.

      I have lost over 200,000 of collectables and antiques..

      My concern is for those that have not homes naturally..

      BUT if we are to PROVIDE LOANS/GRANTS that is fine.

      The MAIN ISSUE is where DOES the money come from.

      There is NOTHING wrong for the Taxpayers DEMANDING CUTS in spending IN OTHER AREAS of Spending.

      Cut the Pay of the Senators, the Congressmen, and that 1.4 BILLION dollars spent in the White HOUSE ANNUALLY.

      instead of hiring Federal Workers at the rate of 100 per day like they have done in the last five months.

      STOP HIRING and lay some of the LAZY BUMS OFF..

      • .50BMG says:

        You could move to higher ground, especially with all those valuables, so us taxpayers don't have to bail you out. That's for private insurance to do. I've never figured out why people build in these areas knowing that they will flood at some point -high flood insurance premiums or unwillingness of companies to insure at all say it all. Of course, if I was born in that house, my attitude might be different. That being said,. I really don't mean to diss you as I agree with most of your post. I've given you my thoughts on this, and I will certainly welcome your comments on my point of view, as I probably missed something important. Please educate me (I'm sure you will!) Thanks

    3. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      There are conspiracy theories, and conspiracy theorists out there, who'd say that the only reason why FEMA exists is to open concentration camps in the event of the government declaring martial law over a holiday like
      Christmas, or the Fourth of July, since conspiracy theories are usually rejected by the vast majority of people,
      they aren't taken seriously. Why? Because they can't be tested.

    4. Sawdust says:

      If this was a foreign country the ink on the check would not even be dry and it would be cashed. Most of the residents have insurance and that should be their call.
      Reign in foreign spending, start closing military bases in foreign countries, start collecting money lent to England and Japan.
      Use our returning military to secure our borders. Shoot anyone trying to enter but give those leaving a free pass. No more free school or lunches, breakfasts food stamps to illegals. Well you get my point.
      When we start pluging the holes in our spending it will be amzing how much money will be left.

    5. ToriH says:

      Agreed. I would only add that the remaining funds be distributed directly to families and not to cities, agencies, or other companies. Families should receive the funds AFTER their insurance companies have made good on their policies. This is another example of why Napolitano needs to be removed from office.

    6. Al Connellyl says:

      Will the insanity ever cease? FEMA was a joke during Katrina and has wasted the money meant to give relief and aid to citizens. It is time to stop all the insanity including: (1) Funds sent to countries that target us as the great satan (2) Welfare without work? (3) meals for students (4) forgiveness for student loans (what about the kids who can't even get to college? (5) Food Stamp money that can be spent on anything (6) any welfare without drug testing, etc. Stop the bleeding!

    7. ccj says:

      You know yes if the middle man would get out of the middle and actually let the funds go to those (PEOPLE NOT AGENCY) who need it, we wouldn't have 1/2 of the fiscal problems we have today. And the Politicians if they actually had a sense of brotherhood they would not keep bleeding the American people for personal gain and prestige, again we would not have 1/2 of our fiscal problems. We truely need people in office (LESS OF THEM) who actually care about people and not special interests. Bigger lie is that the American people continue to allow it. Sad times we live in. Personally I think we should vote them all out of office and start Fresh. What a concept.

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