Sen. John McCain
Rep. Jim Cooper
Rep. Jeff Flake
Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
Louisiana’s congressional delegation has requested $250 billion from the taxpayers to rebuild that one state alone. President Bush and congressional leaders have promised billions of dollars for reconstruction. But without a plan to pay for it, the new spending will blow a hole in the federal budget and soak future generations. The devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demands leadership and a re-evaluation of spending priorities, first and foremost the costly and unwise Medicare prescription drug benefit set to take effect in January. At this Cato briefing, speakers will argue that Congress should at least delay implementation of the Medicare drug benefit to pay for hurricane relief. A two-year delay that retains “transitional” assistance for low-income seniors would save $84 billion.