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A $900 Million Mistake

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Unread 09.26.11, 01:53 PM
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A $900 Million Mistake

On 09.26.11 12:19 PM posted by Brian Darling

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made a $900,000,000 mistake on a measure to fund the federal government past this Friday.

The government runs out of money on September 30. The House and Senate are engaged in public negotiations on competing measures to fund the government to November 18. The Senate version of the CR contains two drafting errors that cut $900 million from FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers for the purposes of disaster relief.

The Senate defeated the House Republican Continuing Resolution (CR) on Friday, because liberals in the Senate did not want to offset funding for disaster relief. Now Senator Reid is forcing a vote on the Senate version of the CR that contains no offsets for disaster funding. Evidently, Senator Reid was in such a rush to get the bill to the Senate floor that he missed this huge mistake.

The Reid CR in Section 125 of Senate Amendment 656 to*H.R. 2608, states the following (see bold):
Sec. 125. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, effective on the date of the enactment of this Act, there is appropriated—

(1) an additional amount for “Department of Homeland Security–Federal Emergency Management Agency–Disaster Relief”, $774,000,00, to remain available until expended; and

(2) an additional amount for “Corps of Engineers-Civil–Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies”, $226,000,00, to remain available until expended.

(b) The amount made available by this section for the Corps of Engineers–Civil shall be for emergency expenses for repair of damage caused by the storm and flood events occurring in 2011.

(c) Each amount in this section is designated as an emergency pursuant to section 3(c)(1) of H. Res. 5 (112th Congress) and as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 403(a) of S. Con. Res. 13 (111th Congress), the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010.

The numbers in Reid’s amendment (SA 655) are different. Another Reid Amendment that is replaced by the new Amendment appropriates “$774,000,000” for “FEMA—Disaster Relief” and “$226,000,000” for the “Corps of Engineers-Civil–Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies.” *If you take the original $774,000,000 and deduct the Reid CR version of $74,400,000 then you get a drafting error of $696,600,000 for FEMA. If you take $226,000,000 and deduct $22,600,000 then you get a drafting error of $203,400,000 for the Corps. Add up these numbers and you get a Harry Reid error adding up to $900,000,000.

Only in Washington could this happen. *This is the problem with secretive drafting of bills with no hearings, no committee debate and no regular order.

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