08 September 2005

$250 Million becomes $62.3 Billion....

President Bush and this Congress just love spending money. At least this time it is for Americans in need.

The estimates to repair the eroding marshes in the Gulf and the levees were only around 250 million. As it goes, "an ounce of prevention", Mr. President. Are you now regretful that you and Congress red-lined that out of your budget for the last 4 years?

President Bush sent Congress a request for $51.8 billion in additional hurricane relief yesterday, raising Katrina's cost to the federal government to $62.3 billion so far, easily a record for domestic disaster relief.

Separately, Republican leaders moved to try to contain the political fallout from Katrina, forming a joint House-Senate review committee of senior lawmakers who will investigate the government's preparation and initial response to the catastrophe. Democrats called again for an independent probe similar to the investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Katrina's impact, coupled with the stubbornly high cost of the war in Iraq, will probably keep the deficit well above $300 billion this year alone and near record territory in 2006, budget analysts said.

And White House budget director Joshua B. Bolten made it clear: "This will not be the last request." Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was spending just over $500 million a day, an unprecedented rate, House Appropriations Committee aides said. But over the weekend, Bolten said, that "burn rate" soared to more than $2 billion a day as FEMA began signing contracts for the construction of temporary housing.


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