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Sandy Supplemental Gets Army Corps Funding Wrong, Too

This morning, we gave you the top ten reasons to oppose the Senate’s Sandy spending.  Sources in Congress who are intimately familiar with the Sandy supplemental explain there is a massive misuse of funds in the supplemental for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Here’s what we know.

The Sandy supplemental contains funds earmarked for areas outside the Sandy-affected region. That’s right, the Corps would be spending money on projects unrelated to Hurricane Sandy.  Roughly half a billion dollars would be used to address damages from “previous natural disasters.”  Where? Good question.  We don’t know.  $1 billion have been earmarked for food, hurricane and natural disaster “preparations.” Again, those areas are unspecified.  $821 million have been allocated for dredging projects nationwide.  As if those funds weren’t unrelated enough to actually helping Hurricane Sandy victims, $20 million have been requested for interagency planning on coastal ecosystems.  Whatever that means. 

And since the Corps prides itself on “environmental sustainability as a guiding principle,” they’re getting $50 million for “investigations” — a first step toward new projects — at full federal expense.   The Corps is already over-extended, with a backlog of construction and operations and maintenance at a cost of approximately $70 billion.

The Sandy supplemental also automatically authorizes any project under study by the Corps in the North Atlantic Division that could “reduce flooding and storm damage risks.”  Normally projects of this type go through a vetting process, including Chief’s reports, cost-benefit analysis, and scrutiny by the Appropriations Committee.  Moreover, cost share for these projects is 90 percent federal to 10 percent local.  Normally, the cost share is 65 percent federal to 35 percent local.

Normally, there are statutory limitations on the growth of spending for these projects.  But not here.  That’s being waived, so spending can grow unchecked.

Perhaps all this spending would be a little easier to swallow if there was any indication that the money would be spent well. But it won’t.  The Corps does not have the infrastructure available to spend all of this money responsibly.  A 2010 GAO report noted that the Corp’s carryover funds have increased “due to the large amount of supplemental funding the Corps has received in recent years.”  Still, the Sandy supplemental would allocate another $5.5 billion to the Corps.  This is on top of their annual appropriation, which is about the same amount, as well as a supplemental they have received in eight of the last ten fiscal years.

Just like so many other parts of the Sandy supplemental, this is a disservice to taxpayers and a complete waste of money we don’t have.

Please Share Your Thoughts

5 thoughts on “Sandy Supplemental Gets Army Corps Funding Wrong, Too

  1. Here’s what you do not want to do … turn off people like me!

    I fought mightly, with votes and money to conservative candidates, some of whom, I didn’t believe were qualified but I wanted a stronger in numbers conservative congress. Heritage,if conservative organizations such as yours turn off people like me, by fighting against giving financial aid to citizens of NY, NJ and Ct who are suffering due to no action of there own, to take a stand on THAT, you will lose me and many others like me. It is heartless to use this a stand on “fiscal responsibility”.

    Encouraging conservatives in the House to vote against the $60 billion for Sandy was disgraceful.They can begin by saving billions by not asking for pork that they then hand out to THEIR constituents.

    Shame on you. If you’re not embarassed for yourselves … I certainly am. And my checkbook is closed. You’re no better than the folks on the other side of the aisle.

    And yes, I am a citizen of New York City who was not personally affected by Sandy except, that is, my heartstrings.

  2. Incredible Hypocrisy of the right!! While the same fiscal-conservative republicans from the Northeast states affected by Sandy demand that no tax increase on the wealthy is ever considered, and hold the entire US economy hostage rather than pay their fair share – these same legislators now scream “how dare you” when their Pork-filled 60 billion disaster-relief bill fails!!! The Fat-Cat poster from NYC – hoarding his millions while 40% – YES 40% of Americas’ children grow up in poverty and need food-stamps to survive – is absolutely disgusting! How’s if feel now, corporate sleaze-bagger?? Shoes’ on the other foot, now that YOU want some help, huh?

  3. I understand your frustration with this bill, but many red states that are in much more severe weather zones than the metro NYC area have gotten their fair share of pork from weather related reimbursements for many years for many storms, far above what the Northeast has recovered. Nobody should get this pork, but it does appear that the house is targeting the Northeast for retribution. Most FEMA money that has been squandered has been to red states because they receive more because of their geography. You are going to open up a mini civil war with this attitude. Pay the Northeast for it’s rare storm damage and from now on, everyone can fend for themselves. The blue uniforms and the grey uniforms are even.

  4. Disgraceful, New York & New Jersey will not forget this disgusting behaviour by conservative politicians and I think many like me will not donate to disaster relief in the southern states.

    Fact .. after a “southern storm” the weather usually stays in high 60s-70s so no heating etc is not such a severe issue

    FACT .. after this “devastating northern storm, the weather has been ranging from 10-50 with most days under freezing.

  5. I’m a conservative and this ticks me off! What the heck happened to Republicans taking care of others? Family values, doing good, even going with the Christian Duty of providing for others who have less?

    This is disgusting behavior and all you’re doing is alienating lifelong conservatives like myself.

    UNBELIEVABLE.

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