U.S. Congressman Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) today released the following statement regarding the eight amendments he offered to the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Bill, H.R. 152. The bill, costing just over $50 billion, is expected to be considered by the House of Representatives this week:
"While my heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, it is unacceptable for Congress to use this disaster as a justification for passing a bill chock-full of pork barrel spending," said Congressman Broun. "My amendments to the bill simply and reasonably eliminate funding for any pet projects that are unrelated to emergencies brought on by Hurricane Sandy. In other words, my changes would ensure that every dollar spent by means of this legislation is directed toward the people and places that are most in need of help due to the devastating effects of the hurricane.
"For instance, while $133 million for improved weather forecasting equipment and satellites might be important, funding for these kinds of upgrades shouldn't be doled out through the Sandy Disaster Relief bill -- they should go through the regular appropriations process. An even more egregious carve out: the proposed legislation includes a whopping $86 million to bail out the Northeast Corridor of Amtrak as well as to fund the construction of a Hudson River tunnel. Again, while many folks can see the benefits in these ideas, I think most of my colleagues can agree that these aren't exactly disaster-linked projects. This is the wrong time, wrong place, and wrong bill to be discussing such items.
"In the midst of a heated debate about raising the debt ceiling, the Sandy Disaster Relief bill as it stands contradicts what everyone in Washington says they're trying to do -- and that's cut excess spending. I urge my colleagues to support my amendments, because the last thing this Congress needs is a green light to manipulate crises as a trade-off for more federal expenditures."
Two of Rep. Broun's amendments specifically target the underlying bill, and six of the measures are amendments to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's (R-NJ) $33 billion supplemental package.