A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Restoring "Sanity"

NYT: G.O.P. Split Over Big Plans for Storm Spending---

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 - The drive to pour tens of billions of federal dollars into rebuilding the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast is widening a fissure among Republicans over fiscal policy, with more of them expressing worry about unbridled spending.

On Thursday, even before President Bush promised that "federal funds will cover the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone," fiscal conservatives from the House and Senate joined budget watchdog groups in demanding that the administration be judicious in asking for taxpayer dollars.

One fiscal conservative, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, said Thursday, "I don't believe that everything that should happen in Louisiana should be paid for by the rest of the country. I believe there are certain responsibilities that are due the people of Louisiana."

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, called for restoring "sanity" to the federal recovery effort. Congress has approved $62 billion, mostly to cover costs already incurred, and the price tag is rising. The House and Senate approved tax relief Thursday at an estimated cost of more than $5 billion on top of $3.5 billion in housing vouchers approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

"We know we need to help, but throwing more and more money without accountability at this is not going to solve the problem," Mr. DeMint said.

Their comments were in marked contrast to the sweeping administration approach outlined by Mr. Bush in his speech from New Orleans and a call by Senate Republican leaders for a rebuilding effort similar to the Marshall Plan after World War II. Congressional Democrats advocated their own comprehensive recovery program Thursday, promoting a combination of rebuilding programs coupled with housing, health care, agriculture and education initiatives. The president also emphasized the importance of private entrepreneurship to create jobs "and help break the cycle of poverty."
Senators Coburn and DeMint are absolutely right. The government cannot just throw money to the Gulf Coast. The federal government owes the taxpayers a very careful accounting of how our money is being spent.

President Bush is no fiscal conservative, which is a great disappointment. Congressional Republicans have also done their part to spend as much money as they could. This isn't why we worked so hard the last 3 elections.

(Curtsy to Drudge)