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On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief, H.R. 268. According to the text posted by the Senate Appropriations Committee, this bill would spend $13.45 billion for disaster relief without offsets.
The Congressional Budget Office projects that the budget deficit for 2019 will be $897 billion. In February, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that appropriated $103 billion higher than the spending levels established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. In fact, just last month, the federal government posted a record monthly budget deficit of $234 billion.
Not only does H.R. 268 lack offsets, but the spending is also superfluous. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Disaster Relief Fund has a balance of $30.8 billion, up from $27.5 billion when the House passed H.R. 268 in January. Congress doesn’t need to spend more money to provide disaster relief when the Disaster Relief Fund is already adequately funded.
Additionally, the bill effectively provides retroactive crop insurance for farms that elected not to purchase crop insurance for themselves, by making such farms eligible for compensation for up to 70 percent of their loss. It is not to say that the losses faced by such farms are not devastating, but the government should not be in the business of creating such perverse incentives in farms managing risk, lest it be forced to bail out more and more farms in the future as fewer choose to purchase crop insurance once they know the government will bail them out anyway.
What the government should be in the business of, though, is encouraging responsible fiscal practices in the public and private sector by leading by example with its own fiscal responsibility. This most recent disaster relief legislation represents the opposite.
FreedomWorks will count the vote on the Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 268, when calculating our Scorecard for 2019 and reserves the right to weight any votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks