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Robert Longley

Where the Sandy Relief Bill Money Goes

By January 3, 2013

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Update - January 4, 2013: Recognizing the difficulty of passing the entire $60.4 billion Supplemental Disaster Assistance bill, the House on Jan. 4 will consider a bill allocating $9.7 billion to help FEMA pay National Flood Insurance Program claims arising from Superstorm Sandy. Speaker of the House John Boehner plans for the House to consider the $51 billion balance of the Supplemental Disaster Assistance bill later in January.

The Hurricane Sandy relief bill -- Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Assistance (H.R. 1) - proposes about $60.4 billion in new government spending, just over half of which might actually end up helping victims of the October 2012 storm.

Real assistance provided to Sandy victims in the bill amounts to around $32.7 billion, including $11.5 billion in FEMA disaster relief funds, $20.7 billion to help pay Federal Flood Insurance Program claims, and $500 million for SBA small business disaster loans. (Also see: Flood Insurance Myths and Facts)

The balance -- approximately $27.7 billion of proposed spending -- would go to dozens of government agencies and branches of the military to help them prepare for dealing with future disasters and for ongoing mitigation projects related to past disasters.

Critics of the bill, both Republicans and Democrats have labeled much of the proposed spending not directly intended to help Sandy victims as "pork."

For example, the bill would give NOAA $150 million to help the Alaskan fishing industry recover from past storms. NASA would get $4 million for repairs to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dept. of Defense would get $41 million for repair to storm-damaged military bases, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Almost $11 billion would go to the Dept. of Transportation for funding of future public transportation projects. Another $17 billion would go to the Community Development Block Grant program, from which funds can end up being spent on just about anything imaginable. And the U.S. Army would get $1.3 million for "procurement of ammunition."

Not only would much of the proposed spending in what critics have tagged the "Sandy Scam" bill do nothing to actually aid the victims, its inclusion and resulting debate has slowed the legislative process and thus the delivery of assistance to the people who really need it.

Also See: After Katrina, FEMA Announces New Disaster Recovery Strategies


January 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm
(1) Concernicus says:

They have done it again. Larded a bill with totally unrelated projects and then given it an honorable sounding name. Patriot Act, ring a bell? What can we do to force these imbeciles to have stand alone bills? No absurd additions and amendments. This is an outrage.

January 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm
(2) Donald Teets says:

An outrage is putting it Mildly…
This sort of corruption has to stop and the perps punished severely.
This is outright criminal activity and the sooner we all get it together
the sooner we will put an end to this madness.

I am in favor of recalling all corrupt politicians and confiscating all their ill gotten Gain

the sick and tired old Sailor

January 9, 2013 at 4:04 am
(3) Anagnorisis says:

Even a jaded old philologer gets gobsmacked at somethng like this.

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