Lewis Rules Committee Statement on the Emergency Supplemental “Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act.”

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Lewis Statement on the Emergency Supplemental
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Rules Committee today held a hearing on the FY 2010 Emergency Supplemental, the “Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act.” The legislation – totaling almost $6 billion – was introduced late last night immediately following the vote on health care reform, and includes non-emergency items unrelated to disaster relief, such as a $600 million “summer youth jobs” program. The bill is tentatively scheduled to be voted on in the House tomorrow.
House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis gave the following statement on the bill in the Rules Committee today:
“I believe that we’re all in agreement that the fiscal path that we are currently on is unsustainable.  With an annual deficit of $1.6 trillion, a growing mountain of debt, and unemployment hovering near ten percent, it’s clear that we must change course now or face catastrophic consequences in the very near future. 
“Last night, Congress passed a one trillion dollar health care bill that was opposed by every Republican House Member and 39 Democrat House Members.  Never before in our nation’s history has such historic legislation been passed by one party over such widespread bipartisan opposition.
“Within minutes of that bill’s passage, Chairman Obey introduced the $6 billion supplemental that is before us today.  To say that I was surprised by this development would be an understatement, to put it mildly. 
“This so-called emergency supplemental is one more misguided step in the wrong direction and continues our country down a path toward fiscal ruin.  It’s quite clear—by both the content and the timing of this package—that pieces of this legislation could be viewed by some as an effort to reward Members of the Democratic Caucus for their “aye” votes on health care reform. 
“Do not for one minute believe that this legislation reflects the work of the House Appropriations Committee, or even the Democrats on the Appropriations Committee—because it does not.  This legislation reflects the work of Chairman Obey—and Chairman Obey alone. 
“To my knowledge, this bill—which now appears on a fast track for floor consideration—has had no input from any other Members than Chairman Obey.  There has been no markup, no amendments, and no potential offsets debated or even discussed.  And, like the trillion dollar stimulus package and the subsequent “Son of Stimulus” passed by the House prior to Christmas, this legislation will go directly to the House floor without any input from House Republicans and zero opportunity for any Member to amend it.
“If Congress is going to go down this road, approving billions more in spending without any debate in the Committee of jurisdiction, the very least we could do is fully offset the spending.  I have an amendment that would do just that—fully offsetting the $5.1 billion FEMA funding in this package by reducing remaining unobligated balances from the stimulus package.
“We can agree to disagree on the cause of our economic troubles but the fact remains that we cannot spend our way to economic health.  I urge the Members of the Rules Committee to offset fully the cost of this Supplemental by making my amendment in order so we do not further burden future generations with even more debt.”

112th Congress