Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 20, 2005

Hey media: it’s NOT a $29 billion Katrina relief package

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Congress and HLS,Preparedness and Response — by Christian Beckner on December 20, 2005

My first bullet point in this post yesterday bears repeating. As I mentioned, the “$29 billion for Katrina relief” in the DOD appropriations bill is misleading, since this is offset by a $23.4 billion rescission from FEMA’s Emergency Response Fund. On a net basis, the Congress would only be appropriating $5.6 billion of new money…not a small sum, but one that certainly doesn’t have the same political impact as $29 billion.

In spite of this fact, which I figured out from a fairly cursory read of budget documents, nearly every major news source reporting on the bill has missed this fact:

The New York Times: “The bill also contains a $29 billion hurricane recovery package…”
Reuters: “The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday approved $29 billion in funds for rebuilding hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast states…”
Associated Press: “After securing 29 billion dollars in aid for hurricane-ravaged states, Gulf Coast lawmakers held their breath as the funds became entangled in a Senate debate over a controversial oil drilling measure…”

The only media outlet that I’ve found to get this right is CQ, which wrote today:

Most of the funds — $23.4 billion — would be redirected from funds previously appropriated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through two emergency supplemental appropriations (PL 109-61, PL 109-62) after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi in August. Most of those funds went to FEMA’s disaster relief fund.

Since that money is just being redirected, it is not expected to result in additional spending.

Precisely. Saying that this aid package is worth $29 billion is like saying that somebody’s net worth increases by hundreds of thousands of dollars on the day that they take out a home loan.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>