Government Bytes


Sandy Relief Act for Fisheries: $193 Million Cost

by Dan Barrett / /

While NTUF highlights at least four newly-scored bills in our weekly newsletter, The Taxpayer's Tab, we have a lot of legislation that don't necessarily fall into the "Least Expensive" or "Most Friended" categories. So, as a supplement, here's another bill introduced in the 113th Congress that taxpayers may find interesting. Just as the bills that appear in the Tab, this is a preliminary score and may be updated with new information.

The Bill: H.R. 1445, the Sandy Disaster Fisheries Relief Act

Annualized Cost: $96.5 million ($193 million over two years)

After Hurricane Sandy, much of the East Coast is still recovering from the effects of wind, rain, and flood damage. For fishermen, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the storm wreaked havoc on the fishing industry. New Jersey's fishery infrastructure suffered between $78 and $121 billion in uninsured losses. To attempt to help quicken the recovery, Congress passed a large relief package in January that included $5 million for these fisheries. Then, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would add additional emergency funds to assist fishing on the East Coast. He said that "[n]ow, it is our turn to support our fishermen by making a commitment of fisheries disaster assistance that really takes into account the amount of damage they suffered."

The Sandy Disaster Fisheries Relief Act would authorize NOAA to spend up to $193 million between 2013 and 2014. Funding would be limited to operations, research, and maintenance of fishing-related facilities and channels still recovering from Sandy. Since the spending would be deemed as an emergency measure, spending limitations related to any budgetary caps or sequestration would not apply, and therefore be wholly counted as new spending. There are no offsets included in the proposal.

Note: The sponsor's office confirmed that the text of the bill contained a drafting error that authorized "$193,000,000,000" instead of "$193,000,000" as detailed in a press release. Under BillTally rules, NTUF scores the intention of legislation and so will record the potential spending as a $193 million new two-year cost.

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