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On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote NO on the Senate Amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 2157. This amendment would provide for more than $19 billion in funds for disaster relief for wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding, as well as for Puerto Rico, without any offsets for the new spending.
This bill has been the subject of extreme controversy in the past week and a half, as Democratic leadership attempted to have the House unanimously agree to pass the legislation during pro forma sessions of Congress multiple times throughout the Memorial Day recess. This meant that few members were even present in the chamber while such attempts were made.
For a bill that spends more than $19 billion, there should be at the very least a vote held on the legislation. Thankfully, Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and John Rose (R-Tenn.) found the issue important enough to stay in or return to Washington, D.C. during their recess time to make it known that such swampy process is not okay. They objected to the requests for passage, spurring Speaker Pelosi to mud-sling, calling them “heartless” for blocking this “must-pass” legislation.
However, they are some of the only members who actually had the heart to give up their own time to do their jobs for the American people. This is what we need more of. If Speaker Pelosi truly thought the issue was “must-pass,” she could have, at any time, called the House back into session and called debate and/or a vote on it. However, she chose instead to stay in California and wait until her scheduled time off was over. Now, more than a week after her first attempt to pass this bill, it is finally getting a vote.
Process was not the only thing wrong with this legislation, though. The bill is simply nothing that any Republican should support. It appropriates too much money; more money than last month’s previously-passed versions of the legislation which 150 Republicans voted against. When there is already more than $29 billion of disaster relief money still unspent and our nation is more than $22 trillion in debt, the last thing we need to be doing is appropriating money that we don’t have, to causes that we don’t fully or at all understand, in an unlimited and reckless manner.
Additionally, the bill is sold as a disaster relief necessity, leading individuals to believe that this money is needed, and is needed now. In fact, though, only 28 percent of its appropriations will be spent by the end of this year, and only just over half of it by the end of next year. It also moves a lot of money into nebulous programs, such as Community Development Block Grants, whose uses are uncertain and often unrelated entirely to disaster relief.
Legislating this way is dishonest and pits those who wish to do their job as a member of Congress responsibly against those who either peddle the lies that there is no other way to be sympathetic to disaster victims or are simply deceived into believing that this is the case. It is not the case. As the nation’s legislative body, Congress needs to become a wiser steward of taxpayer dollars, and at the very least offset any new spending, whether for disaster relief or otherwise.
FreedomWorks will count the vote on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2157 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