Hoyer: Independent Commission Still Needed to Investigate Katrina Response

Democratic Whip Says Republican Report Fails to Answer Important Questions

For Immediate Release:

February 15, 2006

Contact:Liz Packard
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House Select Committee released its final report on the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina:

     “The unsparing language in this report is notable mostly because it comes from a Republican Congress that has failed to perform real oversight of the current Administration and because it demonstrates that we are still not prepared for a natural catastrophe or significant terrorist attack four and one-half years after 9/11.

     “The fact is, the American people saw the government’s incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina with their own eyes, and any attempt to mitigate the justified criticism of the Administration would have been met with widespread disdain and would have been viewed by our citizens as simply not credible.

     “However, the tough language in this report does not vitiate the necessity of an independent commission – modeled on the 9/11 Commission – to ensure that we fully understand our government’s failings and make sure that we do not repeat them.  Important questions are still left unanswered by this report, such as how these problems occurred, why they were not corrected sooner, and who in particular was responsible.

     “What is most troubling is that the Select Committee failed to obtain key documents and testimony from the White House.  The Committee never subpoenaed the White House, and the Defense Department failed to comply with the one subpoena that was issued.

      “Thus, the incomplete nature of this report only strengthens the case for the appointment of an Independent Commission that will put politics aside and follow the facts wherever they lead.”

 

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