Porktastic Sandy disaster relief bill now called “Sandy Scam”
A lot of people feel as though Washington is broken. It’s hard to argue with them when we see work product like this coming out of D.C.:
Among people heading back to work will be lawmakers, who will do their best to carry on as they return to Washington to confront a number of pressing challenges, including a disaster relief bill for Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy left more than 100 people dead and destroyed about 400,000 homes and other buildings.
Today, the Senate will begin debating a bill that was supposed to be disaster recovery funds for those devastated by the storm. But so many special-interest projects were added on that the $60.4 billion request has turned into a farce. Roughly $28 billion of the request is marked for future disaster-mitigation projects.
- $200 million for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be used freely at the discretion of the Secretary;
- Money for salmon fisheries in Alaska; and
- $2 million for roof repairs at the Smithsonian.
The bill also seeks federal funding for things that are provided on a state and local level, or by nonprofits and communities, such as food for food banks.
As Heritage visiting fellow 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.” Items have been tacked onto the bill that should be debated for the regular federal budget, not disaster funding.
President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.
The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.
Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”