(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. released the following statement today regarding Hurricane Katrina and its economic impact.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Katrina and those who have been displaced by this tragedy. This is one of the worst disasters to hit our nation. Yet, behind the chaos are many stories of neighbors helping neighbors with remarkable courage and compassion,” Dr. Coburn said.
“When Congress reconvenes to consider an emergency relief bill it should not take advantage of the American people’s generosity by adding unrelated items. Congress needs to lead by example, tighten its belt, and make budget sacrifices of its own if we expect the American people to do the same. Anyone who has seen the heartbreaking events in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast should understand that this is not the time for ‘business as usual’ in Congress,” Dr. Coburn said.
“I intend to support the proposed $10 billion supplemental bill if it is free of pork-barrel items and solely dedicated to emergency relief. However, Congress needs to go to work now to pay for this massive relief effort with offsetting cuts in other spending bills. As the American people pay higher prices at the pump Congress should conserve their tax dollars by cutting back on wasteful spending,” Dr. Coburn said.
“Gas prices will be pushed even higher for several months due to disruptions caused by the hurricane. However, a legacy of failed energy policies is more to blame for today’s high gas prices. For too many years Congress has allowed misguided environmentalists to block the expansion of our domestic refinery and nuclear power capabilities. Relying too heavily on foreign sources of oil is not only an economic problem but a national security problem. This tragedy should prompt Congress to take additional steps to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Dr. Coburn said.
Dr. Coburn also supports protecting marginal well production in Oklahoma as well as incentives for the development of new technologies like coal gasification – a process that converts coal into diesel fuels, industrial gases and power usage.