The following is a statement by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid:
“Hurricane Katrina has left a trail of death and destruction along America’s Gulf Coast. With flood waters continuing to pour into New Orleans, friends and family members still missing and hundreds of thousands coming to grips with the devastation, the full scope of the tragedy remains unknown. The only thing that is clear at this time is that we are facing a national crisis. Stemming the crisis and aiding in recovery must be this government’s top priority in the days and weeks ahead.
“I commend the President for his decision to return to Washington, DC to oversee recovery efforts. The hours ahead will be critical in saving lives and putting an end to further destruction.
“The United States Senate will return Tuesday, and in order to ensure we are prepared to act on that day, I hope the President and his administration will act swiftly to provide the Congress with damage assessments so that we can provide immediate relief to the people of the Gulf Coast. We must not waste any time in giving these families the resources they need.
“To that end, I’ve spoken with Senator Frist and asked him to set aside what is currently on the Senate schedule so that Senators can take up relief work immediately upon our return. There can be no more important challenge facing our country in the days ahead than getting relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and the agenda of the United States Senate should reflect that priority.”