Summary: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations - The “Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of FY 2010”

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Summary: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations - The “Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of FY 2010”
The “Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of FY 2010” contains:
  • $5.1 billion for FEMA for natural disaster recovery – including $1.2 billion in arbitration settlements from hurricanes Katrina and Rita
  • $600 million for a “Summer Youth Jobs” grant program within the Department of Labor. This is in addition to at least $924 million in funds for this program approved in  the FY 2010 LHHS Appropriations bill, and $400 million in unspent funds for this program in the “stimulus” bill.
  • $20 million to extend a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program – approved in last year’s “stimulus” bill – to April 30, 2010.
  • $620 million in rescissions of unused funding – most of which originated in last year’s “stimulus” bill. These recessions include: $111.5 million from the analog-digital converter box program, $44 million from the NHTSA “Recycle and Save” program, $361.9 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, and $102.7 million from the Rural Development Program. According to CBO, most of these rescinded funds were never going to be spent anyway, and would have otherwise gone back to the Treasury to reduce the deficit. 
More Borrowed Spending and Back-Door Deals:
  • Late last night, the Democrat leadership filed a supplemental Appropriations bill that once again adds billions in unrelated spending to emergency disaster relief legislation. The bill was written entirely out of the public view, has had no hearings or mark-ups, and represents the latest attempt to shut out the American people by the Democrat majority.
  • The President hasn’t even signed the trillion dollar health-care overhaul, and yet Democrat leaders are going to jam through billions more in borrowed spending without full debate and with zero opportunity for amendments or bi-partisan improvements to the legislation.
  • Providing relief to Americans suffering from natural disasters is a responsible and worthy use of taxpayer dollars. However, Congress should not use a disaster relief bill to carry millions in funding for a flawed, politically inspired “jobs” program – especially when there is already at least $1.4 billion in unused funds in the pipeline for this program already.
  • With all the funding for “stimulus” and other domestic programs that is sitting unspent in federal coffers, there is no reason why the entirety of the emergency relief portion of this legislation could not be paid for as well - or used to pay down the crushing $1.6 trillion deficit projected for this year alone.
  • Our nation is in dire financial straits. Instead of billions more in borrowed spending, the Congress should use unspent funds from failed “stimulus” or other unnecessary government programs to pay for our true national priorities – such as critical relief from unexpected disasters.
Paying the Piper for Irresponsible Budgeting:
Several recent natural disasters – such as the recent snowstorms – have accelerated the drain on FEMA’s emergency disaster relief funds.  However, the country has not yet experienced any large scale natural disasters this cycle that would be out of the scope of a normal year.  Therefore, the question could be asked, why does FEMA need an emergency infusion of funds?
FEMA has been plagued by mismanagement and poor budget estimations, which has led to unrealistically low budget requests. In addition, the Administration submitted a FEMA budget request to Congress, knowing their request would not be enough to fund emergency disaster needs for the year and expecting an emergency supplemental bill to cover the rest.
For example, $1.2 billion of the funds included in this emergency supplemental will go to continued Katrina and Rita recovery - natural disasters that occurred years ago. This funding includes pay-outs for arbitration judgments against FEMA for Katrina and Rita related claims that have been in the works for years. The need for this funding should not have come as a surprise and could have been funded in the regular budget process, but the Administration and the Democrat leadership ignored the likely outcomes of these legal proceedings and did not budget funding to cover the costs.
Hurting our Recovery and Increasing Government Spending Instead of Reducing the Deficit
The Supplemental includes $600 million for a “summer youth jobs” program, offset by various rescissions in unused funding from the “stimulus” bill and other Appropriations bills. This is in addition to at least $1.4 billion in unused funding – approved in the “stimulus” bill and the FY 2010 LHHS Appropriations bill – already sitting in the federal pipeline for this program.
This program will not improve our nation’s floundering employment situation, and may in fact cause more harm to our recovery. These “summer youth jobs” are temporary by design, which means that unemployed youth will once more become unemployed in the fall. In addition, these temporary, government subsidized jobs can dampen the demand for more permanent positions for unemployed adults –  individuals that have already been part of the nation’s workforce and that may have families dependent on their income.
Because of the massive spending in the “stimulus” and “jobs” bills, and the huge increases in funding approved by the Democrat majority in the yearly Appropriations bills, there are billions upon billions of unnecessary and unused funds sloshing around the federal government.
Yet, instead of doing the responsible thing and using these funds to start paying down our crushing debt or pay for our natural disasters, Democrat leaders are parceling out this funding to their domestic priorities – including this flawed “summer jobs” program.  

112th Congress