Andrew Harnik, Associated Press
FILE - From left, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., arrive before NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a Joint Meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Utah's two GOP senators and two other Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday to build room in the federal budget for natural disaster spending.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's two GOP senators and two other Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday to build room in the federal budget for natural disaster spending.

The legislation, sponsored by Utah Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, would require future disaster funding to fall within the budget, according to a joint press release.

Romney said Congress planning ahead — instead of borrowing billions each year — for natural disasters is long overdue.

10 comments on this story

"By building disaster spending into the annual budget process, instead of busting our spending limits and adding to our national debt, our bill will both ensure that funding is available for disaster assistance and save taxpayers billions of dollars every year," he said.

Lee said the government should not be able to avoid difficult financial realities by simply marking funds as "emergency" or "disaster relief."

"We’ve seen in the last five years that Congress would rather borrow and spend instead of cutting wasteful, unnecessary programs and saving for a rainy day," he said. "While this bill would only impact a small portion of total federal spending, it is a step in the right direction.”