On October 11, 2017, Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) sent a letter to his colleagues expressing his concerns regarding the disaster relief legislation proposed on Tuesday.
Rep. Mark Walker identifies the need to help people in need after a disaster. However, “I struggle with the notion that in doing so we must abandon our prudence and principles – and shortcut the rules and processes of the House”, the letter states.
Walker writes that “this spending bill has grown from his initial iteration”, explaining that the initial release from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had noted a $29 billion request. However, later in the day OMB transmitted another request to Puerto Rico, where Walker said that “Despite the inability of Members to substantively review that request, the funds were predictably included in the ever-growing spending bill.”
In explaining his concern, Walker states that the $36.5 billion bill is “larger than the normal Agriculture, Financial Services and General Government, Interior and Environment, Legislative Branch, or the State and Foreign Operations appropriations that the House considers annually.” Also, Walker raises awareness of the effect this appropriation bill “will have long-term implications on the appropriations process and the way the House functions as a body”, the letter states.
The main concern that he expresses is the effects that this bill will have on the United States debt. In a statement made by Vice President Pence after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the letter quotes “Congress must ensure that a catastrophe of nature does not become a catastrophe of debt.”
Walker closes out the letter by writing the following: “America is at a tipping point. Republicans control the White House and Congress and we cannot ignore or further enable our debt crisis. We have no excuses and no scapegoats. It is time for tough choices and responsible governing.”