Washington, DC- Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) issued the following statement following the vote on H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. The bill provides $50.6 billion in supplemental appropriations for assistance for the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.
“Last night I voted for the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 which provides emergency funding to address immediate and long term needs of victims and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is appropriate for the federal government to act on behalf of the generous citizens of our nation who support victims of natural disasters wherever such events occur, including in North Dakota. We received such grace many times, and will likely need the aggregated resources only our federal government can provide in the future. While the vote last night further demonstrated the willingness of our nation to come together on behalf of our fellow citizens in need, it also demonstrated a serious lack of fiscal discipline all too familiar in our nation’s capital. For that reason I voted for every amendment attempting to find a way to pay for this important priority without adding to the national debt. This includes supporting an amendment providing an offset achieved by an across the board cut of 1.63% to all discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2013. There is no doubt an across the board cut is not the best way to find offsets or prioritize spending. It was the most effective solution offered during this fast tracked legislative procedure. Only three of the amendments offered to help offset the appropriations in the Sandy Relief bill passed, saving less than $200 million. It concerns me so few savings could be passed by a congress facing a $17 trillion debt, another fiscal cliff, sequestration, a continuing resolution expiration date and a debt ceiling vote, all within the next several weeks.
I hope the 113th Congress finds a way to discipline spending habits and put our nation on stronger fiscal footing, lest the next natural disaster hits a bankrupt country.”
Hurricane Sandy devastated portions of Northeastern United States in October of 2012 cutting power, flooding streets, tunnels and subways. It was estimated that the total cost of damage was over $63 billion. The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 passed the House of Representatives with a total vote tally of 241-180.