U.S. Representative Glenn "GT' Thompson issued the following statement after the U.S. House passed H.R. 152, the Fiscal Year 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Bill. The measure, which Thompson voted to oppose, passed the House by a vote of 240-180.
"Washington has made a mockery of this process by filling what should be an emergency-only funding relief bill that supports communities of New York and New Jersey in dire need of federal support with a wish list of non-emergency spending that should otherwise be accounted for through the regular budget process," stated Thompson. "I support immediate financial support for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but cannot support more taxpayer abuse under the guise of emergency relief."
H.R. 152 was broken down into two separate amendments. The first amendment, which Thompson voted to support, was composed of $17 billion in emergency funding to meet the immediate needs of communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The second amendment, which Thompson voted to oppose, was composed of an additional $33.7 billion in spending for long-term recovery and mitigation efforts, much of which is not emergency related.
"This process should have been expedited weeks ago and based solely on the emergency requests made by agencies and governors of the impacted states, not used as a vehicle for non-emergency funding priorities to be charged to the nation's credit card and added to the debt." added Thompson.
Examples of Non-Emergency Funding Included in Final Package:
$86 million for capital and service grants to Amtrak for capital projects, not fully designated for emergency-related projects.
$10 million for Federal Prison System buildings and facilities.
$1 million for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
$10 million for FBI salaries and expenses.
On Friday, January 4, 2013, Thompson voted to support H.R. 41, authorizing $9.7 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay claims under the National Flood Insurance Program, which was part of the Administration's emergency relief request.