Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Want My $85 Billion

As a Gulf Coast resident, I want my $85 billion.

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.


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…
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.

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.


bayoustjohndavid said...

I was about to post on this suggesting that someone at least write a letter to the editor or something. Couldn't hurt to try. If the Dems fall for the fuzzy math and the T/P fails to notice it, we can't really expect the Times or Post to. I sent a eletter Monday, but no response. I think I got on their crank/frequent letter writer list before I started blogging.

da po' boy said...

There might be an explanation for this math, but it certainly does look fuzzy to me.
And, apparently, Bush won't support any bills (like the Baker bill) appropriating more money to the Gulf Coast because he feels like the federal government has given "a lot," which he believes is enough. My problem is, the government hasn't given as much as they are saying that they have given, so maybe it is not enough.

Mark Folse said...

I sent this to friends in high places (which explains how I got my mug in the paper last week).

Hopefully they will take notice at the T-P. I mean, I was an English Major and a journalist, and your arithmetic makes perfect sense to me. ; )

LatinTeacher said...

In an article today in the T-P, Bill Frist has pledged $100 billion. I wonder if that includes the $85 billion already promised or it that is "a lot." I keep writing letters, but one of my senators is Rick Santorum who is apparently in the pro-Bush, whatever-the-leader-says, camp. I will keep in him.