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house Bill H.R. 1984

Should the OMB Publish a Report Detailing All Federal Disaster-Related Spending?

Argument in favor

The American public needs to know what the federal government spends on disaster relief across all agencies each year. Having this information in a single report will help policymakers and the public better understand the real costs of climate change and extreme weather — and it may also encourage them to put more energy into mitigation and adaptation efforts.

jimK's Opinion
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07/14/2019
With recent weather extremes, changing precipitation patterns, and measured CO2 levels higher than anytime in millennia- climate change is most assuredly upon us. Disaster relief annually averaged funding needs will undoubtedly increase. We should know what those costs are to prioritize disaster relief expenses as funding will become difficult to stretch. At any rate, it should show the ‘flat-earther’ climate deniers that there are real economic impacts of ignoring climate change and let us rejoin the rest world to collectively address the problem.
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RjGoodman's Opinion
···
07/13/2019
Yes. This bill provides a mechanism for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit a report to Congress on federal disaster-related assistance for the previous fiscal year on the same day that the president makes their annual budget submission to Congress. We should keep track of what we spend our tax dollars on.
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operaman's Opinion
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07/14/2019
Transparency!!! Let's watch the roaches scatter in the light of truth.
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Argument opposed

Every federal agency that’d be affected by this bill already reports to Congress on its spending and budget through the appropriations process. There’s no need to create additional work for the OMB to report on these agencies’ disaster spending when anyone interested could just look at the agencies' budget estimates and websites.

JTJ's Opinion
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07/14/2019
Quit spending federal money on local disasters. This is not the job of the federal government. Cut taxes and allow local communities to finance and manage their own issues.
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Joan's Opinion
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07/13/2019
No new report as one is already on website. Each congress person can look it up. Would be excessive spending. Don’t be a lemming & follow a Democrat over the California cliff into the sea.
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B.R.'s Opinion
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07/14/2019
Perhaps I am missing something. This proposal appears to be repetitive, therefore unnecessary.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1984?

This bill — the Disclosing Aid Spent to Ensure Relief (DISASTER) Act — would require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit a report to Congress on federal disaster-related assistance for the previous fiscal year on the same day that the president makes their annual budget submission to Congress. This report would be made publicly available on the OMB’s website in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.

“Disaster-related assistance” would be defined as federal obligations related to disaster response, recovery, and mitigation efforts, as well as administrative costs associated with these activities. This includes spending by the: Dept. of Agriculture, Commerce Dept., Army Corps of Engineers, Dept. of Defense (DOD), Dept. of Education, Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dept. of the Interior, Dept. of Justice (DOJ), Dept. of Labor, Dept. of Transportation (DOT), Treasury Dept. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), Corporation for National and Community Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Judiciary, Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Program, Dept. of Energy (DOE), General Services Administration, and other authorities as appropriate.

The report would detail the previous fiscal year’s:

  • Overall amount of disaster-related assistance obligations during the fiscal year;
  • Disaster-related assistance obligations by agency and account;
  • Disaster(s) for which federal spending was obligated;
  • Obligations by disaster;
  • Disaster-related assistance by disaster type;
  • Response and recovery spending;
  • Mitigation spending;
  • Spending in the form of loans; and
  • Spending in the form of grants.

Impact

Federal spending on disaster relief; OMB; Dept. of Agriculture; Commerce Dept.; Army Corps of Engineers; Dept. of Defense (DOD); Dept. of Education; Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS); Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Dept. of the Interior; Dept. of Justice (DOJ); Dept. of Labor; Dept. of Transportation (DOT); Treasury Dept. Internal Revenue Service (IRS); Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA); Corporation for National and Community Service; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Federal Judiciary; Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Program; Dept. of Energy (DOE); General Services Administration; and the OMB Director.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1984

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced this bill to increase transparency and accountability for federal expenditures on disaster relief:

“When disaster strikes our communities,  the recovery can be slow—and costly. And the costs to the federal government are on the rise as disasters become more frequent and more devastating. We should know exactly how much recovery efforts cost, so our budget can correctly account for them, and we should make those numbers accessible to taxpayers. Disasters can strike any community and we all want to know how tax dollars are spent.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) adds:

“The DISASTER Act would mark a significant step forward in providing needed transparency to disaster relief expenditures. Our constituents deserve to have access to details on how we spend their money, and our bill would go a long way toward consolidating this research and information for them, like spending reports or calculation breakdowns.”

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) notes that informing policymakers of annual disaster-related costs will help them and the public understand extreme weather events’ true costs. EESI hopes that this improved understanding of extreme weather events’ and natural disasters’ costs would “encourage further mitigation and adaptation efforts.”

This bill has 15 bipartisan cosponsors, including nine Democrats and four Republicans. It’s also endorsed by American Rivers, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, Taxpayers for Common Sense. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passed this bill on a voice vote.


Of NoteThe federal government currently doesn’t have a single estimate of how much money it spends on disaster-related assistance. The Budget Control Act (BCA) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to set an annual cap for disaster relief spending by calculating an adjusted 10-year rolling average of disaster-related expenditures. This calculation includes spending out of 29 individual accounts managed by 11 different agencies and departments, and very little of the information that goes into it is made public or released in an accessible format.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Llgorko)

AKA

DISASTER Act

Official Title

DISASTER ACT

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedMarch 28th, 2019
    With recent weather extremes, changing precipitation patterns, and measured CO2 levels higher than anytime in millennia- climate change is most assuredly upon us. Disaster relief annually averaged funding needs will undoubtedly increase. We should know what those costs are to prioritize disaster relief expenses as funding will become difficult to stretch. At any rate, it should show the ‘flat-earther’ climate deniers that there are real economic impacts of ignoring climate change and let us rejoin the rest world to collectively address the problem.
    Like (50)
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    Quit spending federal money on local disasters. This is not the job of the federal government. Cut taxes and allow local communities to finance and manage their own issues.
    Like (7)
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    Share
    Yes. This bill provides a mechanism for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit a report to Congress on federal disaster-related assistance for the previous fiscal year on the same day that the president makes their annual budget submission to Congress. We should keep track of what we spend our tax dollars on.
    Like (42)
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    Transparency!!! Let's watch the roaches scatter in the light of truth.
    Like (32)
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    Seems like a common sense thing to me. Obviously spending transparency is always good, but by present a report on this big picture, it will be more obvious how disaster recovery spending is increasing and the inequality of it disbursements.
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    Yes. Puerto Rico is a prime example where money was misspent and much of the money didn’t go to individuals who could have used it. However, Puerto Rico recovered much better than what the mainstream media and Democrats want us to know. My husband were there last fall and there was no sign a major hurricane went through. The locals said all power was back on within two weeks and a good recovery was underway. The locals said our mainstream media sensationalized and made it sound worse than what it was.
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    👍🏻👍🏻 Of Course, Make the Report the Sooner the Better 👍🏻👍🏻 The American public needs to know what the federal government spends on disaster relief across all agencies each year. Having this information in a single report will help policymakers and the public better understand the real costs of climate change and extreme weather — and it may also encourage them to put more energy into mitigation and adaptation efforts. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻YES👍🏻👍🏻. 7.14.19
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    Yes. Transparency is important. I think we need to know how many more 5 employee contractors out of Montana are hired for multi billion dollar jobs without competitive bids. How many other unqualified companies are brought in over qualified local companies to do the same jobs. How many non union over union and what the effects are in terms of time, money, human costs etc. I think we need to know where that money was spent and did those resources get to those in need in a timely fashion. I know it didn’t happen in Houston. It didn’t happen in Puerto Rico. I’m certain it didn’t happen many other places as well. Time for accountability.
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    Transparency is necessary for democracy!
    Like (14)
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    As a taxpayer I would like to see were the money is going. People like us can go on line and see were it goes. Sometimes I think our government thinks we are dumb and cannot figure out what are truths and what are lies!
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    Yes! We need transparency.
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    There should be an accessible website where all federal government spending should be able to be sorted by category.
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    This information should already be officially documented.
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    There should be receipt of all spending it’s how u balance a budget
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    TRANSPARENCY!!! Isn't that what Comrade Bone Spurs promised???? Taxpayers should know how their tax dollars are being spent. Who's to say these monies aren't being funneled into the wrong hands? Like all the pet projects our lawmakers have and need money for...
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    We need transparency, especially with our current administration. tRUMP takes money from anywhere he wants. Like “his” parade, took billions from the National Park Service and then I see an article stating Smoky National park is in dire need of repairs and they need more money he has also taken money from disaster relief. Look how he handled Puerto Rico, he didn’t want to spend money on them, he lied about how much money went to PR! Disaster Relief should go where it’s needed and dispersed fairly not based on a president’s racism!
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    It all should be transparent
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    Yes it’s called accountability, this isn’t national security. Why shouldn’t tax’s payers be in the know?
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    While you are at it go ahead and make a site where we can see where all spending of government is going, including how each law costs us.
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    Transparency leads to trust and confidence in the process only those that have something to hide would be against reporting our spending on disasters.
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