Examination of Federal Disaster Relief Under the Budget Control Act [November 8, 2013]   [open pdf - 411KB]

This report discusses the pitfalls of current budget estimation tools regarding emergency management; the authors make observations and recommendations. "On August 2, 2011, the President signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112- 25), which included a number of budget-controlling mechanisms. As part of the legislation, caps were placed on discretionary spending for the next ten years, beginning with FY2012. […] On October 29, 2013, Hurricane Sandy came ashore, causing loss of life and billions of dollars in damage. The Administration proposed a relief package that exceeded the allowable adjustment for disaster relief under the BCA. The Administration requested, and Congress for the most part agreed, to designate the Hurricane Sandy supplemental as emergency spending outside of the limited disaster relief adjustment made available under the BCA. The history of the legislative response to this disaster demonstrated that while the BCA included an accommodation to provide dedicated additional funding for many disasters, catastrophic events such as Sandy remain a challenge to those developing long-term budgeting strategies. […] In the face of these challenges, Congress could choose to continue to use emergency funding to meet unbudgeted disaster relief needs, or change the allowable adjustment mechanism, the formula for calculating the allowable adjustment."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42352
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