China to the White House – “Stop the Tariffs or We’ll Stop Buying Your Debt”
That’s one way to stop this never-ending commitment to post-disaster spending. Congress has finalized its negotiations for the 2019 Disaster Supplemental bill, H.R. 2157. Trump says he supports it.
The $19.2 billion dollar bill provides a total of $3.3 billion to the Corps of Engineers on top of the $17 billion from the last post-disaster supplemental, most of which has yet to be spent:
$35 million of which will go directly toward “high priority studies” for projects in states and territories impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Typhoon Mangkhut, Super Typhoon Yutu and Tropical Storm Gita. The Assistant Secretary is required to provide monthly reports to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations about how the money is spent.
$740 million for construction. One-time projects (those not eligible for ongoing construction) require a 65/35 cost share with non-Federal O&M requirements.
$25 million for Continuing Authorities Programs.
$908 million for O&M for ‘natural disasters’ -in other words, these funds can be used for any O&M need related to a natural disaster, not just the 5 storms named here in the bill.
$1 BILLIION for FCCE (Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies). You read that right, billion. Keep in mind the entire Corps FY19 budget was $7 billion. In this capacity, the Corps is acting more like an engineering arm of FEMA. It’s all about how Congress makes the best use of the Corps – it can decide if the Corps is proactive or reactive, but lately we have only seen the latter. While we’re thankful to our legislators for proving these much needed funds, our Treasury is busy printing another 19 billion dollars to add to the deficit, and China will buy much of it. But there is a way to stop this madness. The same way we’re stalling on Flood Insurance, we’re stalling on disaster prep. This delay means consequences! Detention for Congress. Congress must appropriate funds to prepare for disasters.
We need them to write it: ‘Congress must appropriate funds to prepare for disasters.’ And they can’t go home until they have written it 500 times on the chalkboard. And they get a phone call home to their parents.
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Jokes aside, this is getting old. 5% of this bill and 30% of the Corps funding in this post-disaster supplemental is for Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies. The facts are the facts, the money will be spent, guaranteed.
Energy & Water
The House Energy & Water bill is expected to be on the House floor next week as part of a minibus coupled with Defense, Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, State-Foreign Operations, and Legislative Branch.
The National Flood Insurance Program has been extended to June 14th.
What does Corps HQ Planning do?
Stay tuned for the release of another episode of our WaterLog Podcast later today where we sit down with Derek Brockbank, Executive Director of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association and Corps HQ Planning – Eric Bush, Acting Chief of Planning and Joe Redican, Deputy Chief of Planning, to discuss what it is that Corps HQ planning does and much more detail than we’ll get into here.