I’ve heard a lot about it.
I first heard about it the last time the President came down to this part of the world.
Signing all the legislation I've signed, the federal government has committed $85 billion so far to helping folks and to help rebuild the Gulf Coast.Then some senators came down and scolded me for not using it already.
“We have appropriated $82 billion and we haven’t seen $82 billion worth of progress,” Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said.And then I heard the President today smugly suggest that I should be grateful for it.
The Congress has appropriated $85 billion to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. And that is a good start; it's a strong start; it's a significant commitment to the people whose lives were turned upside down by that -- by those -- by that hurricane.Wow. It sure is a lot. Thanks for reminding me, because I remember the original $62 billion Congress appropriated. Then I remember the $5 billion that came in the “$29 billion” bill, which makes a total of $67 billion. But, I wasn’t too sure about where the other $18 billion came from.
We'll continue to work with the folks down there. But I want to remind the people in that part of the world, $85 billion is a lot…
Until I read this article:
Congress has so far appropriated $67 billion to help the region get back on its feet. The White House has estimated the federal government has provided at least $18 billion more in flood insurance and other assistance.Is this the “flood insurance and other assistance” the White House is talking about?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has been authorized to borrow $18.5 billion for damage claim payments to hurricane victims.I didn’t know that paying out flood insurance claims was optional. I just assumed this money was coming anyway, being that people with flood insurance pay every month to have it. Even though Congress had to vote to allow FEMA to borrow the money, I don’t count this as money appropriated by Congress. So, if that is where Bush gets his extra $18 billion dollars from, I don’t buy it.
I’m sticking to the $67 billion number until I see evidence to the contrary. If anyone knows where such evidence is, please let me know.