Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, suggested Wednesday that an across-the-board federal spending freeze could help pay for Hurricane Katrina recovery costs.
"It could all come in one year, or it could be spread out over several years," Grassley said.
Blocking automatic adjustment of federal programs to inflation also could generate more revenue, Grassley said, noting that the standard deduction on income taxes also is indexed to inflation.
"If we did that, it would bring in X number of dollars. That would bring in some revenue. That would be a tax increase," Grassley said.
The battering Hurricane Katrina gave the Gulf Coast has tossed Congress into a budget crisis. Criticized for the government's slow initial response, President Bush has pledged a massive aid program that eventually could reach $200 billion.
Grassley said the magnitude of devastation along the Gulf Coast has pushed other high-profile items off the congressional agenda, including Bush's plan to overhaul Social Security and allow private savings accounts. The disaster ended any chance that Congress could deal with that issue this year, he said.
Grassley said a spending freeze will be a politically tough sell because it would affect programs across the country
Grassley said he has little patience with lawmakers who complain about Bush.
"I feel its wrong for congressmen to sit back and cry about something the White House is doing or not doing when we're a co-equal branch of government," said Grassley.