On Monday, the Senate will begin consideration of the Obama administration's $60.4 billion disaster assistance supplemental appropriations. The request, supposedly an emergency response to Hurricane Sandy, was marked up by the Senate Appropriation Committee earlier this week. A quick read through reveals the request "vividly illustrates the problems with the federal government's...current approach to natural disasters" and "advance[s] a political agenda that could not win congressional approval." Oh, and "64% of the total would not be spent until Fiscal Year 2015 at the earliest."
It gets worse, if you can believe it.
According to the summary released by the Senate Appropriations Committee, there would be "$150 million for fishery disasters declared by the Secretary of Commerce in 2012." The legislative text can be found here.
If that sounds extremely vague, it's because it is.
There have been seven commercial fishery disaster determinations in 2012 (here), but only one of them deals with the impact of Hurricane Sandy. The others include: Texas Red Tide Oyster Fishery 2011; Alaska Chinook Salmon 2011-2012; New England Multispecies Groundfish Fishery 2011-2013; Mississippi River Flood 2011 - Mississippi Commercial Fisheries; American Samoa Tsunami 2009; and, Norton Sound and Port Clearance 2009.
There is a lot in this 94-page, $60.4 billion bill. That Senators appear willing to allow "emergency spending" to go toward fisheries impacted in America Samoa in 2009 by a tsunami is alarming. To be clear, this is far more than an emergency relief package for Hurricane Sandy - it's "an act of willful fiscal negligence."