WASHINGTON—House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin issued the following statement upon passage of H.R. 152:
“I’m committed to helping the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. We should meet all of their needs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, H.R. 152 is the latest example of Washington using hardship to achieve political ends.
“The legislation proposes to spend billions of dollars for 64 programs across 17 agencies. Only 7 percent of its funds will be spent in the next nine months. It funds billions in grants for non-Sandy expenses, sand dunes at the Kennedy Space Center, highway repairs in the Virgin Islands, and roof repairs in Washington, D.C. It gives the administration the authority to transfer billions of dollars to other priorities. To circumvent budget rules, H.R. 152 explicitly uses an ‘emergency’ designation for non-emergency projects. This legislative abuse is an insult to families facing real emergencies in the wake of the storm. All told, this bill will increase the public debt by $74.8 billion over the next ten years.
“Washington needs to start budgeting for emergencies. By setting aside resources in advance, policymakers can better fulfill emergency needs without accelerating a debt crisis. Likewise, there’s historical precedent for offsetting emergency spending. Since 1990, more than half—31 out of 59—of the enacted supplemental-appropriations bills included offsetting spending reductions.
“We must ensure communities in need have sufficient resources to assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy. We can provide aid without mismanaging our resources—and without increasing our massive debt. This bill fails these tests, and I cannot support it.”