Oct 25 2005

DeMint, Graham Back Bill to Pay for Spending on Hurricane Relief Efforts

WASHINGTON -- Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced proposed spending reductions to help pay for damages caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Graham and DeMint were joined in the effort by five of their colleagues including Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla) John Ensign (R-Nev.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and John Sununu (R-N.H.). “It’s unfair to stick future generations of Americans with the bill for solving problems that occur on our watch,” said Graham. “I’m proud to be a part of this long overdue effort to set better priorities in spending.” “We had a Category 4 hurricane hit our shores, but if we don’t address our runaway spending, we’re going to have a Category 5 fiscal storm hit our children and grandchildren,” said Senator DeMint. “The American people don’t want any more excuses, and they don’t want to hear congressmen and senators arguing about who is to blame. We have real problems that require tough decisions.” The proposed federal spending reductions include the following actions:
  • 5 percent reduction in all federal spending programs except those which impact national security, with 1 percent set aside for funding of essential programs.
  • A freeze on cost-of-living adjustments for federal employees, including Members of Congress, with the exception of law enforcement and military personnel.
  • An elimination of earmarked projects included as part of the Highway Bill.
  • A two-year delay in implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
  • A requirement that those with higher incomes pay higher Medicare Part B premiums in 2006, rather than in 2007 as currently scheduled.
  • The package of offsets proposed today could save the American taxpayers between $70 – 125 billion.
“We need bold leadership to set priorities and get our fiscal house in order,” said Senator DeMint. “Americans expect us to anticipate problems and fix them while we still can. That’s why we must offset this relief as a downpayment toward fiscal responsibility.” “Reducing federal spending will prevent additional borrowing and require Congress to do what all families and businesses have to do in their lives and that's set priorities,” said Graham. “The proposed spending reductions are a fair and necessary culture change for Congress.” ###