WASHINGTON - Sen. Tom Coburn continued his campaign Thursday for fiscal discipline in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, saying in advance of President Bush's speech that federal budget cuts should be made to offset aid to the Gulf Coast. "Everybody in America is going to have to sacrifice some, Coburn, R-Muskogee, said. "People who work in the federal government will have to make sacrifices, members of Congress (will have to sacrifice) in terms of earmarks that aren't the highest priority. There's ways to find all this money. How about (sacrificing) a pay increase for all the members of Congress? Meanwhile, Rep. Ernest Istook toured New Orleans on Thursday and met with members of the Oklahoma National Guard who are providing security and performing other missions in the flooded city, his office said. Istook, R-Warr Acres, is a member of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security funding. He was scheduled to visit with some of the people who were evacuated from New Orleans to Oklahoma. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is scheduled to tour the area today with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Inhofe's panel has jurisdiction over such agencies as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, which are expected to play critical roles in the restoration of the Gulf Coast areas damaged by the hurricane. "I want to ensure that the federal agencies involved in the recovery effort have all the resources they need in order to continue saving lives and stabilizing the Gulf Coast area, Inhofe said in a prepared statement. Inhofe's office said he and Frist will meet with federal, state and local officials in New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss. Coburn and other congressional conservatives held a news conference Thursday to call on leaders to make budget cuts to help finance some of the Katrina-related aid. Coburn said in an interview later that he also was worried about "the tendency to spend money to solve a problem before you know the extent of the problem. Coburn questioned whether the government should pay to rebuild homes or businesses built in a flood zone if the owners opted not to buy federal flood insurance.
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