WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco met this morning to discuss ongoing recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
Majority Leader Hoyer stated, "During my visits to the region, I witnessed first-hand the devastation wrought by the disaster. The response to Hurricane Katrina was a horrific example of the incompetence and cronyism of the Bush Administration. The Administration has not exercised leadership to coordinate the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, and as a result, bureaucratic red tape has delayed the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars that Congress has already appropriated for the region."
Hoyer continued, "The goal, however, is not to place blame, but to focus on the immense needs that still exist in the Gulf Coast. Democrats will make the recovery of this region a priority of this Congress. Currently, we are working together with the state and local elected officials in the region to help devise solutions that will speed the pace of recovery and allow the people to rebuild their communities. Additionally, Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus are working to develop comprehensive legislation that will be brought to the House Floor to address the housing, insurance, health care, and infrastructure needs that were largely ignored by the Republican leadership of the last Congress."
Governor Blanco stated, "America has a new Congress and Louisiana has new partners at the federal level as we advance our recovery. Majority Leader Hoyer and other leaders have wasted no time making Hurricane Katrina and Rita recovery a priority, and are already working to break through federal barriers to our progress. After 9/11, Congress took a hard look at disaster preparedness, and it is time the same be done for disaster recovery. Federal rules and red tape simply do not fit the needs of a catastrophe of this size, and reforming the system will benefit communities across the country."
Hoyer added, "Governor Blanco came to our caucus meeting this week and has met with the leadership as well. This has been helpful to our efforts to move forward for the people of the Gulf Coast. I look forward to working with her to ensure that this region has what it needs to rebuild."
Blanco concluded, "I look forward to working with the team of leaders who will drive the mechanics behind this effort to bring swift relief to our people struggling to rebuild."