Republicans, in particular, are pushing to trim the bill's $60.4 billion spending total by (among other things) cutting $13 billion designed to mitigate future New York City metropolitan area flooding, eliminating funding for fisheries disaster aid and drought relief that would go to states outside of the northeast, and cutting money for the Department of Agriculture’s emergency watershed program. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been particularly critical of added, non-hurricane-related funding, including that slated for wildfire mitigation, saying that while the money “is desperately needed because we’re in a severe drought, and I want that money for my state . . . it has nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy.”
Likewise, Taxpayers for Common Sense, a group that targets for elimination what it sees as wasteful government spending, has called for a more "limited and fiscally responsible" spending bill, citing several examples of what it terms "wasteful," "non-emergency funding," such as $821 million in general funds for river and harbor dredging projects nationwide, and a "$9.7 billion increase of National Flood Insurance Program borrowing authority, potentially putting the federal flood insurance program $30 billion in debt." Taxpayers also lists several non-spending amendments that it calls "pet projects and initiatives," which have been added to the bill, including these directly and indirectly related to water resource issues:
- "blanket authority for the Corps of Engineers to green light any project they deem 'cost-effective,' elimination of cost-overrun protections
- "provision to allow FEMA to rebuild/relocate flood-prone state facilities in 30 states affected by flooding disaster declarations since August 2011
- "a 30 page Disaster Recovery Act of 2012, which is a subset of Landrieu/Cochran bill that has not been vetted by the Senate Committee
- "a bill that would gut floodplain policy that was rejected 126-254 by the House five months ago"
Senate approval of the supplemental spending bill will precede its consideration by the even more fiscally-conservative, GOP-controlled House, where it will likely face additional opposition.