Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean released the following statement in response to reports that Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will push for a vote on Repealing the Estate Tax when the Senate returns on Tuesday:
“Countless thousands of our fellow Americans throughout the Gulf Coast region continue to suffer in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. While some have begun the painful task of rebuilding their lives and coping with the unfathomable loss, so many still await help. And the cost of this disaster in human and material terms remains unknown.
“It’s simply irresponsible for Senator Frist and Ken Mehlman to even think about spending our tax dollars on breaks for millionaires at a time when our top priority must be to ensure we have the resources needed to address the long and short term costs associated with rescue, recovery, and rebuilding in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Not to mention the vital lesson we learned this week about the deadly cost of diverting funds at the expense of the safety of the American people. These costs also come at a time when our nation faces a massive deficit, and mounting costs in the ongoing war in Iraq.
“There is also a question of values, priorities and choices. Tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have literally lost everything; we have a responsibility to put their needs first. Senator Frist should join Democrats in Congress who understand that our priority as a nation must be to focus our energy and resources on determining how we help the victims begin to rebuild their lives and addressing the long term issues we face as a nation in the aftermath of Katrina.
“Perhaps seeing the images on television was not enough this time for Senator Frist and having now had the chance to actually look some of the victims in the eye, he’ll be able to better diagnose the situation, get his priorities straight and recognize that the victims of this crisis, and providing the resources to keep our people safe in the future, must be our highest priorities.”
Southern Star has the story at MyDD. Al Gore chartered a plane and flew 200 New Orleans citizens with chronic medical conditions to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Let’s hope the Democratic leadership also rises to the challenge next week.