"The $1 billion in emergency funding for fiscal year 2011 has been offset by a cut to the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, which has more than $4 billion in unspent funds in the pipeline. Now is the time to use these idle dollars for true and immediate purposes -- aiding our fellow citizens in their times of greatest needs as they cope with the aftermath of wildfires, tornados, earthquakes and hurricanes.
"Now, the notion of offsetting emergency spending has gotten a lot of attention as of late. Let me be VERY clear: Offsetting emergency spending is not a unique practice. In fact, over the last ten years, this body has used offsets in at least 15 of 30 emergency supplemental spending bills. In total, Congress has passed over $60 billion in emergency offsets since 2001 -- most of which had large support on both sides of the aisle, including the support of our former Speaker Pelosi.
"The loan program used as an offset in this bill has had excess funds for years, and taking the money will not negatively affect the program. All entities in final loan stages will still get the funding they've worked for. Furthermore, this offset is identical to the one already passed by the House in June as part of the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.
"In addition, the Committee will continue to consider additional disaster funding over the next few weeks as we bring the fiscal year 2012 Appropriations process to a close including reviewing estimates that are still coming in from recent disasters so that families and communities can get the assistance they need while making sure that every dollar is well-spent. The Budget Control Act which both houses in Congress and the White House agreed to provides for 2012 disaster funding in this capacity.
"But with respect to this Continuing Resolution, at this time, we do not have all the necessary information on the cost of recent disasters, nor the time to work out a final, comprehensive agreement with the White House and the Senate. Therefore, we must meet the most immediate need and provide additional funding now for FEMA to keep the program going for the next several months. That is what this Continuing Resolution does and why we -- the House and Senate -- must pass this bill immediately. . ."
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