Sen. Paul speaks on waste in ‘Sandy’ emergency funding

SenatorRandPaul
YouTube
12/28/2012

In an email yesterday Senator Paul wrote:

I know you work hard. Like most Americans, you provide for your family and save as much of your hard-earned money as possible.

But unforeseen emergencies can take you by surprise at any time and force you to make necessary sacrifices to pay for those emergencies.

When emergencies like Hurricane Sandy disrupt life in America, Congress doesn’t face the same sacrifices the American people do.

In fact, Congress doesn’t sacrifice anything, unless you count sacrificing the fiscal solvency of America.

The Hurricane Sandy Emergency Funding package is a three year spending bill packed with millions of dollars of unrelated pork earmarked for everything but hurricane relief.

There is no evidence Congress is good at spending your money.

So the last thing we should do is hand over three years’ worth of spending authority disguised as Hurricane Sandy relief.

Why don’t we authorize one year at a time with functional oversight and make sure the relief money is not being wasted or abused?

Why don’t we offset the costs of the relief package with spending cuts to prevent adding another $60 billion to our national debt?

I have proposed offsetting hurricane relief costs by ending $9 billion worth of foreign aid that ends up in the private accounts of dictators who oppress their own people and burn our flag.

My amendment to the hurricane relief package would’ve required Congress offset the relief costs with spending cuts one year at a time.

The problem is that so-called conservatives in the Senate refuse to stand up for what’s right and voted against fiscal responsibility.

They continue to put their own wants before the needs of this great nation.

Despite the defeat of my amendment, I vow to keep fighting this battle because America’s future is worth fighting for.

We will never climb out from under our crippling $16 trillion debt with abusive spending like this.

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Related: The Post-Sandy Christmas

…The upheaval is compounded by FEMA’s ineffective response. Those insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by FEMA, cannot rebuild their lives until they hear from the government how much they will be receiving.

Accetta said he has so far received $2,900 in assistance from FEMA for emergency housing needs but he has not “gotten a dime from FEMA” through the NFIP, his flood insurer. He cannot yet begin rebuilding.

“I have a contractor, but how can I allow him to go forward until I know what FEMA will be giving me?” he said…

…Gerritsen Beach Sandy Relief is continuing to care for its own in the Brooklyn borough after some 10,000 of its residents’ homes were flooded by sewer and sea water. Their call for people to loan its residents motor homes continues after being denied trailers by FEMA.

The wish list posted on Amazon a week before Christmas for the residents lists not video games or toys but bleach, paper towels, gloves, hot chocolate, 2x4s, and canned food like Spam and Chef Boyardee…

…“The initial response was despair and grief. It was loss initially and we dealt with it with prayer. We prayed that God would help,” Hein said. “It was profoundly disturbing, losing everything and taking it to the curb.”

“There’s been anger at FEMA and the government agencies and also at insurance agencies being too slow,” Hein added. “But there’s great strength within the people. Various churches have united to help the victims and people are so grateful.”

“We saw the Mennonites, the Amish, the Presbyterians, the Catholics, the Southern Baptists, and the Methodists who were there helping Sandy victims,” Hein said. He noted atheists seemed conspicuously absent.

Hein found the evidence of God’s presence in the aftermath of the storm. It was when residents lost everything and people came to help them in their desperate hour of need, he said…

Read the whole thing. Help if you can.

Update: Sandy-hit agencies get no free ride for new cars. Storm funds go to Alaska, Gulf

The Senate passed a massive Superstorm Sandy relief bill late last week but not before lawmakers took a stab at some accountability — including insisting that the FBI, Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies first try to replace flood-damaged vehicles from within their existing fleets.

Senators preserved some of the more controversial spending in the bill, including $150 million that could be spent on salmon fisheries in Alaska and the oyster industry in the Gulf of Mexico, which are both far away from the areas devastated by Sandy.

The $60 billion bill cleared the Senate by a 62-32 vote late Friday evening, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats to power it through.

Its fate is murky, though, because the House has shown no inclination to consider the bill before it adjourns and a new Congress is sworn in Thursday. In the new Congress, the House could take up a more streamlined bill focused on immediate needs, which would be a fraction of the Senate’s bill…

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