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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Rule on Hurricane Sandy

January 15, 2013

Rule on Hurricane Sandy
House Chamber, Washington D.C.
January 15, 2013

Mr. Speaker:

This rule brings us a spending package of more than $50 billion that is supposed to be for emergency repairs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

That averages $450 from every household in America.  $450. 

These families have a right to expect that this money is being used for genuine emergency relief.  But it’s not. 

According to the Congressional Budget Office, more than 90 percent won’t even be spent this year.  That’s not emergency relief.

Sixteen billion is to quintuple the size of the Community Development Block Grant Program.  That’s the slush fund that pays for such dubious projects as doggie day care centers – and it doesn’t even have to be spent in the hurricane area. 

Two billion is for highway repairs anywhere in the country – including up to $20 million each for Guam, American Samoa and the Mariana Islands that aren’t even in the same ocean as Hurricane Sandy.

I offered amendments to restrict funding to emergency relief for this year.  Future year expenditures should be included in the normal appropriations process where they can be given scrutiny and evaluated in relation to all the other demands on spending.

These amendments were refused.  Worse, this rule overrides the house rules requiring spending offsets, against unauthorized appropriations, and most telling of all -- against mixing non-emergency funding in an emergency bill.

A tragedy like Hurricane Sandy should not be used as an excuse for a grab-bag of spending having nothing to do with emergency relief.

At the Rules Committee hearing, I was told, “Well, you just have to understand that’s the way these things are done.” 

Mr. Speaker, Republicans were supposed to change the way these things are done.  Clearly, we have not.

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