On Neil Cavuto’s Fox News show just a minute ago, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) just said that “we’ve never paid for disaster relief by cutting other spending.” I don’t doubt his sincerity, but he’s just flat-out wrong. For the first year or two of the Gingrich Congress, it was firm policy to “offset” disaster spending with other cuts. In fact, the rescissions package of 1995 began as an effort to provide such offsets — and then grew beyond that. If I remember the numbers, the disaster relief was pegged at just under $9 billion, and the final rescissions package was more than $16 billion. In short, we cut other spending by nearly twice as much as the amount we approved for disaster relief.
It was good policy then, and, with appropriate safeguards, it should still be the ordinary way of doing business.