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Senate Poised to Put More Disaster Spending on the Nation’s Credit Card

The Senate is at it again, maneuvering to consider another poorly targeted disaster aid package that would add billions of dollars in deficit spending.

At a $13.5 billion price tag for this latest disaster bill, Congress continues to abuse the disaster and emergency spending designation as a means to circumvent the Budget Control Act spending caps and boost funding for programs that are neither designed nor equipped to respond to natural disasters.

Natural disasters happen in America. The federal government has some limited role in helping to save lives and facilitate response efforts when major disasters strike. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was created in part for that purpose. However, lawmakers should be budgeting for federal disaster assistance before the next disaster happens, not issue more debt irresponsibly afterwards.

Supplemental appropriations should be reserved for truly unforeseen events that have a large scale impact on the country, not for recurring problems such as seasonal flooding and wildfires.

Congress should strictly adhere to a 1991 Office of Management and Budget definition of what qualifies for emergency spending: necessary; sudden; urgent; unforeseen; and not permanent.

And even when major disasters strike, there is no reason that needed funding shouldn’t be paid for by cutting other federal expenses.

When a typical American family has an unexpected medical bill, or car repair, they’ll often “tighten the belt” by cutting unnecessary expenditures like eating out at restaurants to find a way to pay for it.

It would be irresponsible to simply put more money on their credit card. Already more than $22 trillion in debt, and with annual deficits in the trillions, federal lawmakers are acting recklessly by burdening younger generations with yet higher debt.

Programs receiving additional funding through the bill include:

$1.06 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The Senate bill includes over a billion dollars in Department of Housing and Urban Development CDBG disaster recovery grants. CDBG received over $35 billion in supplemental appropriations in fiscal year 2018. Much of the money that was already sent to CDBG is not being used, proving that the program is not equipped to handle disaster response.

Read the full story from The Daily Signal

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