Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Concept_Men Analyzing

Disaster Relief Deserves Offsets

Nov 20, 2017 | Other Spending

For Immediate Release

Last week, the Trump Administration requested $44 billion of disaster relief funding, on top of roughly $50 billion of disaster relief already enacted this year. The Administration also called on Congress to enact almost $60 billion of spending cuts to help offset disaster spending. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the following in response:

The Trump Administration is right, we need to start paying for disaster costs. Just because funding is important doesn’t mean we should borrow for it – it means we should find less important priorities and shift our resources to where they are most needed. With debt higher than any time since World War II, it’s time to start taking budget discipline seriously.

The offsets put forward by the Trump Administration – mainly rescinding unneeded spending and extending automatic reductions in mandatory spending (the “mandatory sequester”) for two years – are in many ways a reasonable starting point for negotiation. But if lawmakers don’t like those specific ideas, our Mini-Bargain to Improve the Budget puts forward $100 billion of offsets specifically designed to pay for disaster relief.

It seems natural disasters are becoming increasingly common, increasingly devastating, and increasingly costly. Ultimately, this country will need a new way to finance disaster relief and the spending that can mitigate disasters in the first place.
 
In the meanwhile, the least we can do is pay for new spending over a reasonable time horizon so it doesn't add to our already massive national debt.

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For more information contact Matt Bylis at bylis@crfb.org.