NTU strongly urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on the Senate amendment to H.R. 601. Originally a bill to provide urgently needed disaster relief funding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, this legislation now includes a three-month debt ceiling extension and continuing resolution (CR).
It has been the long-standing position of National Taxpayers Union that emergency disaster spending should be offset by commensurate cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. We agree that at times it is necessary for the federal government to assist in recovery efforts when communities are faced with significant natural disasters. These tasks can be extremely broad in scope, as well as extremely costly.
However, it is equally important to adhere to fiscally responsible principles in order to avoid increasing the deficit, accruing more debt, and exacerbating the harmful effects of such tragedies. A lack of restraint would impose a serious strain on our economy and long-term prosperity. In the same way, it is also important for Congress to better plan for such scenarios by creating or increasing specific disaster relief funds, and enacting legislative reforms that encourage mitigation, self-insurance, and other preventative measures.
Regardless, Congress should not combine disaster relief supplemental funding with a debt ceiling and government funding extension. Conservatives have been consistently clear - for years - in our reasonable request to pair any debt ceiling increase with spending reforms. Anything less is a wasted opportunity to enact some degree of fiscal restraint.
Taxpayers get short shrift when such disparate measures are packaged together and rushed across the floor. Instead, legislators should have the chance to fully consider each on its merits.
Roll Call votes on H.R. 601 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
9/8: This vote alert has been updated to address House Members following Senate passage on 9/7/17.