Legislation appropriating money to help with cleanup and rebuilding after a natural disaster are always must-pass bills, because any member of Congress daring to hold the bill up will inevitably be accused of not being sufficiently compassionate to the victims of said disaster.
Because throwing tax dollars at problems is how we measure compassion in politics.
Naturally, because of the must-pass nature of these bills, they also get loaded up with all manner of pork projects. The relief bill for Hurricane Sandy is no different:
The request, which still needs the approval of Congress, includes billions in urgently needed aide. But it also features some surprising items: $23 million for tree plantings to “help reduce flood effects, protect water sources, decrease soil erosion and improve wildlife habitat” in forested areas touched by Sandy; $2 million to repair roof damage at Smithsonian buildings in Washington that pre-dates the storm; $4 million to repair sand berms and dunes at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; and $41 million for clean-up and repairs at eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The FBI is seeking $4 million to replace “vehicles, laboratory and office equipment and furniture,” while Customs and Border Protection wants $2.4 million to replace “destroyed or damaged vehicles, including mobile X-Ray machines.”
The Small Business Administration is seeking a $50 million slice of the pie for its post-storm response efforts, including “Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Development Centers.”
But remember, the problem with our debt and deficit is that we’re not taxed enough.
The Women’s Business Development Centers, separate from the Small Business Development Centers, stick in my craw by the way. Because that’s how we make things equal, right? By treating one gender better than the other?