Disaster Bill Should Be Paid For

The Senate has passed, and the House of Representatives will soon consider, an emergency spending bill for disaster relief.  The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

When disaster strikes, we want to do everything we can to save lives and minimize human tragedy. It is important to get resources to disaster victims quickly.

At the same time, it is important that we do this in a way that does not continue to worsen our already fiscally reckless path by adding new costs to the national credit card.

Congress has been working on this disaster relief package for almost two years, leaving ample time to offset these priorities. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently developed a plan to offset up to $100 billion of disaster relief. 


Policy Ten-Year Savings
Flood insurance reforms (raising premiums, deductibles, etc.) $10 billion
Re-prioritization of highway and community development funds toward disaster relief $15 billion
Farm subsidy reductions $25 billion
Disaster relief oil surtax $50 billion
Total $100 billion
Memorandum: Alternative Tax Offsets  
Elimination of Intangible Drilling Cost Expensing $13 billion
Elimination of Percentage Depletion for Oil and Gas $12 billion
Elimination of Other Fossil Fuel Tax Preferences $5 billion
Elimination of "SUV Loophole" for Vehicle Deductions $10 billion
Reform of Low-Income Housing and New Markets Tax Credits $10 billion


Of course, there are many other ways to pay for disaster relief, and Congress should be willing to come up with a serious package.

We hope our leaders will act responsibly and move quickly to pass an appropriate emergency spending bill that sends resources where they are truly needed and is offset over a reasonable timeframe.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.