Obama Politicizing Hurricane Sandy Disaster Aid Request
If you didn’t know it was a real thing, you might think President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy aid request was written purely for its comic value. The continued suffering and destruction that result from a hurricane are never to be taken lightly, but the federal government’s funding request was ridiculous (and laughable). Rather than address the damage, it reads like a campaign wish list of spending priorities – billions of dollars for frivolous projects – and continues negative Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trends.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) put together a list of the most absurd requests set forth by the President, and billions of dollars of our taxpayer money are being used in very frivolous ways.
President Obama’s team believes “disaster relief” should including sinking billions of taxpayer dollars into bogus climate change programs.
$13 billion were requested for mitigation projects “to reduce the risk of damage from future disasters.”
Particularly of note, a minimum of $1.91 billion of the Corps of Engineers’ Construction funding for mitigation projects is explicitly intended to address the threat of climate change. An additional $610 million is directed to the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce future risks from extreme weather events and support climate adaption.
They also want to spend $23 million on “tree plantings” and another $1.1 million to address tree damage at three national cemeteries. That one speaks for itself.
They’ve asked for another $9.7 billion, a 47 percent increase, in the borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program. Why this sudden spike in spending, you might wonder? Heritage’s Matt Mayer contends that too many disasters are nationalized. Perhaps by liberals’ standards, that’s not the case, but in terms of how many nationalized disasters that historically would have been handled by the states and localities and how much federal money is spent, it certainly is.
Last year, FEMA issued a record 242 declarations, surpassing the previous single year record of 85. By law, FEMA is only supposed to do so when “the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that it overwhelms state and local resources.” Very few of the 242 cases justified a response from FEMA, and as a result, the Disaster Relief Fund was drained unnecessarily. When these funds run dry, they’re not available when truly needed, and the National Flood Insurance Program “tips further into the red,” according to Mayer.
On that note, the RSC adds that the National Flood Insurance Program has still not repaid the U.S. Treasury $18 billion in bailout funds used to cover Hurricane Katrina damages. They’ve proven they are unable to use money wisely at all, yet they’re still brazen enough to ask for billions of dollars more.
The federal government certainly has a place in responding to major disasters; however, the carelessness with which the government throws around taxpayer money is unacceptable. In fact, it looks like the Obama administration is trying to use Hurricane Sandy to advance a political agenda that could not win congressional approval. That won’t fly, Mr. President.