Lawmakers' deadly prioritiesWhile taxpaying Americans were dying on U.S. soil from the recent devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Republican congressional leadership were working on their top legislative priority as Congress was about to reconvene.

Was their top legislative priority an inquiry into why the survivors of Hurricane Katrina (who lost their homes, jobs and all their possessions) were left for days and days and days without food, water and medical supplies?

No!

Is their priority to investigate the complete absence of federal assistance for five days as these people died from thirst, hunger and disease?

No!

Was the top priority the budget cuts that resulted in the flooding of New Orleans?

No!

Was the priority the difficulties faced by the state and local authorities in responding to the needs of the survivors - difficulties caused by the deployment of the states' National Guard personnel and equipment to Iraq?

No!

Flood control projects are underfunded. New Orleans, a major American city and transportation hub, is flooded as a result, and the top priority of the Republican-controlled Congress is to be the repeal of the estate tax, a tax that affects only the richest among us.

I am outraged! People are dying! People are dying needlessly, and the president is too busy with his vacation, and his golf and guitar playing, to send federal aid. Meanwhile, administration officials lie to the taxpaying American public, and tell us what a good job they are doing.

They are so busy lying to us that they do not have time to find out that people are trapped without food and water. TV news people informed us about the trapped people dying of thirst, while the administration was so busy with public-relations spin that they don't have time to locate any of the survivors. Congress, both Democrats and Republicans (with the exception of the Black Congressional Caucus) was nowhere to be seen.

I am proud of the many Americans who opened their hearts, homes and wallets to the survivors of this disaster. I am embarrassed that we, the richest country on the face of the earth, have to accept foreign aid because the administration doesn't know how to respond to a natural disaster, and the Republican-controlled Congress refuses to fund projects involving the health and safety of American citizens.

I am appalled at the complete and total lack of leadership by our federal elected officials, both Democrat and Republican. I am disgusted by the priorities shown by the president and his administration.

They all should be ashamed of themselves.

Gary Konecky, CPA

Fair Lawn, N.J.

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