Tags: Hurricane Harvey | michael burgess | funding | disaster | budget | hurricane harvey | superstorm sandy

Rep. Burgess: Budget Funds For Disasters Before They Happen

(YouTube/Mr. Michael Burgess)

By    |   Thursday, 31 August 2017 02:56 PM

The approaches to funding for Hurricane Harvey relief will be different than they were for Superstorm Sandy, as this time around, there will be a push for immediate help, Rep. Michael Burgess said Thursday.

But meanwhile, he wishes the government would budget for disasters before they happen.

"That won't be the entire tally," the Texas Republican told CNN'S "New Day" program "You can't even know where the price tag is going to end up, but there will be immediate help."

The end of the fiscal year is approaching, and accounts for various agencies are spent down, as they should be, he continued, but still, "there will be immediate help that will likely come as early as next week. I really don't think that will be a necessarily hard discussion or a hard vote."

Burgess said his opinion always has been that the United States should budget for disasters before they happen, and then supplement the funds once an event happens.

"In fact, when I was just a regular guy and they had big flooding in the upper Mississippi back in the early part of the Clinton administration, why isn't there a fund there that is appropriated just for that and then used as sort of that first response?" Burgess asked.

"They didn't do it then. We don't do it now. I don't quite understand why, but given the fact that we have to do supplementals and everyone is different, but my preference is always, can we put this into more manageable portions."

Several Republicans, many of whom are in the Trump administration now, did not vote for the final Sandy relief bill because they believed it to be too full of extra spending measures, but Burgess said there will be data collected to determine a second and most likely a third wave of federal dollars.

"With Katrina, we came in and did a big bill, then another big bill, and years later, unfortunately found they couldn't spend all the dollars," Burgess said. "That has been a concern of mine as well. I want to be certain that the help gets where it's needed, when it's needed, but yeah, we do have a responsibility to be stewards of the taxpayer dollar. That's a concurrent responsibility."

Burgess said he did not vote for the final Sandy legislation, as he thought it should have been broken into two sections, but it wasn't.

"As we learned with Katrina, there were funds that were available but then never spent," Burgess said. "There was, in fact, I think the Department of Homeland Security ended up taking back several billion dollars from FEMA that were unable to be spent with Sandy. It was a different situation, but I think to anyone's read of the facts currently, there is still a significant amount of money that's either unobligated or unspent."

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The approaches to funding for Hurricane Harvey relief will be different than they were for Superstorm Sandy, as this time around, there will be a push for immediate help, Rep. Michael Burgess said Thursday.
michael burgess, funding, disaster, budget, hurricane harvey, superstorm sandy
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2017-56-31
Thursday, 31 August 2017 02:56 PM
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