WASHINGTON—House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin issued the following statement upon passage of legislation to increase the FEMA’s borrowing authority to carry out the Flood Insurance Program:
“I agree with my colleagues that we must help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. We should meet all of their needs as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Washington’s legislative response fails on both counts. It refuses to distinguish—or even prioritize—disaster relief over pork-barrel spending.
“Today’s legislation concerns the National Flood Insurance Program, a program $20 billion in debt and in desperate need of reform. The GAO has said that, in the future, NFIP may need to borrow money just to meet its interest payments. This legislation proposes to increase the program’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion. It would be irresponsible to raise an insolvent program’s debt ceiling without making the necessary reforms.
“Likewise, CBO projects that nearly half of the money in the bill won’t be spent until 2014 or beyond. In fact, some of the new spending would be for claims unrelated to Hurricane Sandy. In a time of crisis, we must ensure that every dollar we spend is on those who need it. President Obama and Congress owe the people of New York and New Jersey better.”