Norm Dicks' Statement at Rules Committee Hearing on the Continuing Resolution (H.J.Res.79)
September 15th, 2011
"The Continuing Resolution we are considering is not controversial, for the most part. It continues funding as provided in FY 2011, with a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut to keep funding at the $1.043 trillion level, as required by the Budget Control Act cap on FY 2012 appropriations. The CR provides a handful of anomalies requested by OMB including provisions to continue funding for appropriated entitlements, to cut back on Overseas Contingency Operations funding, to give DC access to its local funds, to authorize DHS work on National Special Security events, and to extend flood insurance and the Postal Service.
"The only matter that concerns me is the way the majority has provided disaster relief funding. FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is precariously short on money in FY 2011. The Administration has deferred funding for all long-term rebuilding projects and requested a $500 million supplemental appropriation for the remaining days in the fiscal year.
"The Administration requested emergency funds; it did not recommend an offset for the $500 million. This has been the practice for supplemental disaster relief above the annual budget request. Since 2002, Congress has appropriated $95 billion in supplemental disaster relief; all of it was designated as an emergency and none of it was offset.
"For fiscal years 2002 through 2006, for example, President Bush requested supplemental disaster relief funding eight times. Each of the eight requests was designated as an emergency and none were offset. With Republicans in the majority, some of these emergency disaster relief bills during the Bush Administration were approved by voice vote, and some were considered under unanimous consent.
"Nonetheless, House Republicans are insisting on a radical departure from the standard practice. They are insisting on taking $1.5 billion from another Department’s budget in order to pay for $1 billion in emergency supplemental disaster relief. That is a bad precedent, and one that I believe we will regret as we confront future requests for assistance in disaster recovery.
"Despite my concerns, I will support this CR. I am hopeful that we can work together to encourage job growth as we move ahead on enacting the FY 2012 appropriations bills."