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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 152, Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCLINTOCK. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, this rule brings a suspending package of more than $50 billion that is supposed to be for emergency repairs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. That averages about $450 from every household in America.

These families have a right to expect that this money will be used for genuine emergency relief, but it's not. According to the Congressional Budget Office, more than 90 percent of this money won't even be spent this year. That's not emergency relief.

There is $16 billion to quintuple the size of the Community Development Block Grant program. That's the slush fund that pays for such dubious projects as doggy day care centers, and it doesn't even have to be spent in the hurricane area. Two billion dollars is for highway repairs anywhere in the country, including up to $20 million each for Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands that aren't even in the same ocean as Hurricane Sandy.

I offered amendments to restrict funding for emergency relief this year. Future-year expenditures should be included in the normal appropriations process where they can be given scrutiny and be evaluated in relation to all of the other demands on spending.

These amendments were refused.

Worse, this rule overrides the House rules requiring spending offsets against unauthorized appropriations and, most telling of all, against mixing nonemergency funding in an emergency bill. A tragedy like Hurricane Sandy shouldn't be used as an excuse for a grab bag of spending having nothing to do with emergency relief. At the Rules Committee hearing, I was told, Well, you have to understand that that's just the way things are done around here.

Mr. Speaker, Republicans were supposed to change the way things are done around here. Clearly, we have not.


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