Shelby Katrina Spending

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Alabama GOP Senator Richard Shelby is calling for a freeze on some federal discretionary spending to pay for Hurricane Katrina.

And he says he's willing to start by delaying many of the highway projects and other earmarks he lured for Alabama.

In an Associated Press interview, Shelby, a member of the Appropriations Committee, suggests freezing for a year or two the
one-third of the federal budget that is discretionary, meaning Congress can directly alter.

The rest of the budget is made up of entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.

Shelby says he'd eventually like to look at cuts to the entire budget -- even the nondiscretionary parts -- but that could be more tricky.

Fellow Republican Jeff Sessions of Mobile likes Shelby's approach, but Sessions is just as concerned about the runaway spending for the hurricane -- already approaching two (b) billion dollars a day.

Sessions has suggested President Bush appoint an independent coordinator who would follow the finances of Hurricane Katrina relief.