Last Friday, the Obama Administration requested $60.4 billion in supplemental appropriations to respond to Hurricane Sandy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis finds that 64 percent of the funds will not be spent until fiscal years 2015 – 2022 and after. The Administration’s plan would spend 15 percent of the funds in the current fiscal year, and 21 percent in fiscal year 2014.
In his letter requesting the supplemental funds, OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients said that the supplemental should include a trigger that would cancel certain grants to organizations that do not spend the funds within 24 months of the award. CBO’s score of the supplemental request shows that the Administration’s request fails its own test.
It would spend $9.2 billion in fiscal year 2013 and $12.6 billion the next year. Over half of the spending in the current fiscal year – $5.25 billion – is for flood insurance claims, which are typically spent quickly. The plan would save most of the spending for the fiscal years 2015-2022 or later. With so much spending delayed until later years, it is unclear why the Obama Administration and Democrats are trying to rush this request through Congress rather than requesting much of it in the regular appropriations process for future fiscal years.