Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today issued the following statement after voting for his proposal to provide immediate funding to the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy while opposing a $60 billion package loaded with spending for unrelated projects:
"The families impacted by Hurricane Sandy need relief today to help them begin to rebuild," said Coats, ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security."The most effective way to provide aid to the victims of this devastating storm is to fund immediate needs first so we can assess and plan for future requests."
"An emergency funding bill should focus on the emergency needs of the victims, not the needs of politicians," added Coats. "Loading up a massive $60.4 billion package with unrelated projects and earmarks for other states is not the way we should use taxpayer dollars to fund Hurricane Sandy relief efforts."
Only $9 billion of the $60.4 billion "emergency' spending bill would be spent over the next nine months. The massive spending package contained a number of extraneous items completely separate from the Hurricane Sandy recovery, including $13 billion in mitigation funding for the next potential storm, $500 million for projects from previous disasters unrelated to Hurricane Sandy and $56 million for tsunami cleanup.
Coats offered an alternative $23.8 billion proposal focused on delivering immediate relief to the victims of Hurricane Sandy through March, allowing time for Congress to examine additional requests to meet future needs. The Coats plan would:
Provide funding to help states to begin rebuilding, while allowing time to review and plan for additional funding needs.
Remove major new authorizing language included in current bill.
Eliminate $13 billion in mitigation funding.
Focus on Hurricane Sandy only, not responses to previous or future disasters.
Eliminate funding for non-Hurricane Sandy projects:
o No money for fisheries in Alaska.
o No money to fix museum roofs in Washington, D.C.
o No money for wildfire recovery in Colorado.
o No money for tree planting.
o No money for a water resources priority study.
o No money for Legal Serves Corporation.