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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that FEMA Director Michael Brown would be removed from onsite management of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in the Gulf Coast region and replaced with Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad Allen:
“I am pleased that the President Bush and Administration officials seem to have gotten the message that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not functioning effectively. Removing Michael Brown from the onsite management of disaster relief was the right thing to do, and frankly, given his lack of experience in this area, it is disappointing that he was put in this position in the first place.
“However, let’s recognize that our federal government’s inadequate response to this disaster was never the failing of one individual, but was a systemic failure that is simply unacceptable four years after 9/11. We need to critically examine what went wrong with the response to Hurricane Katrina, not as a matter of assigning blame or gaining political advantage, but as a fulfillment of our promise to the American people to ensure their safety.”