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Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush Vows Gulf Recovery Aid

Well, here it goes.....

Bush Vows Disaster Review for U.S. Cities
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer 26 minutes ago
President Bush is urging Congress to approve a massive reconstruction program for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and promising that the federal government will review the disaster plans of every major American city.
The government failed to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina, Bush said Thursday night from storm-damaged New Orleans as he laid out plans for one of the largest reconstruction projects ever. The federal government's costs could reach $200 billion or beyond.
The president, who has been dogged by criticism that Washington's response to the hurricane was slow and inadequate, said the nation has "every right to expect" more effective federal action in a time of emergency such as Katrina, which killed hundreds of people across five states, forced major evacuations and caused untold property damage.
Disaster planning must be a "national security priority," he said, while ordering the Homeland Security Department to undertake an immediate review of emergency plans in every major American city.
"Our cities must have clear and up-to-date plans for responding to natural disasters and disease outbreaks or a terrorist attack, for evacuating large numbers of people in an emergency and for providing the food and water and security they would need," Bush said.
He acknowledged that government agencies lacked coordination and were overwhelmed by Katrina and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans. He said a disaster on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces. He ordered all Cabinet secretaries to join in a comprehensive review of the government's faulty response.
"When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution," Bush said, looking into the camera that broadcast his speech live on the major television networks from historic Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter. "This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina."
Bush faced the nation at a vulnerable point in his presidency. Most Americans disapprove of his handling of Katrina, and his job-approval rating has been dragged down to the lowest point of his presidency also because of dissatisfaction with the Iraq war and rising gasoline prices. He has struggled to demonstrate the same take-charge leadership he displayed after the Sept. 11 terror attacks four years ago.
Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish near New Orleans, was happy with Bush's speech. "Mainly he gave hope, and right now in this area people need hope more than anything," he told CBS' "The Early Show."
In his speech, the president called for a congressional investigation besides the administration's self-examination. But Democrats want an independent probe similar to the one conducted by the Sept. 11 Commission instead of reviews that will be led by the Republican-controlled Congress and White House.
The president said the federal government will pay most of the costs of rebuilding the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans.
"There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again," Bush said.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., speaking after the president's address, acknowledged that the recovery programs would add to the nation's debt. GOP leaders are open to suggestions from lawmakers to cut government spending elsewhere, but the task is urgent, he said.
"For every dollar we spend on this means a dollar that's going to take a little bit longer to balance the budget," Hastert said.
Congress already has approved $62 billion for the disaster, but that is expected to run out next month.
Even before Bush spoke, some fiscal conservatives expressed alarm at the prospect of such massive federal outlays without cutting other spending.
"It is inexcusable for the White House and Congress to not even make the effort to find at least some offsets to this new spending," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "No one in America believes the federal government is operating at peak efficiency and can't tighten its belt."
Al Hubbard, director of Bush's National Economic Council, acknowledged that hurricane relief spending will temporarily increase the deficit but said it will "in no way impact" Bush's commitment to cut the deficit in half.
Bush repeated a hotline number, 1-877-568-3317, for people to call to help reunite family members separated during the hurricane. Moments later, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., criticized Bush, saying "Leadership isn't a speech or a toll-free number."
"No American doubts that New Orleans will rise again," Kerry said. "They doubt the competence and commitment of this administration."
Bush proposed establishment of worker recovery accounts providing up to $5,000 for job training, education and child care during victims' search for employment. He also proposed creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama offering tax breaks to encourage businesses to stay in the devastated region and new businesses to open. The White House said Friday that each of those initiatives would cost about $2 billion.
Bush said the goal was to get evacuees out of shelters by mid-October and into apartments and other homes, with assistance from the government. He said he would work with Congress to ensure that states were reimbursed for the cost of caring for evacuees.
He also said he would ask Congress to approve an Urban Homesteading Act in which surplus federal property would be turned over to low-income citizens by means of a lottery to build homes, with mortgages or assistance from charitable organizations. The administration has not yet estimated a cost for that plan.
___
On the Net:
White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov

LINK: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050916/ap_on_go_pr_wh/katrina_bush;_ylt=AjYLTWZ1JgOJCSY.QAIzmC2s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

12 Comments:

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  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    SPAM? Double Spam? Geez......

    Grrrrrr.

     
  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Diana Kennedy said…

    SPAM is nasty, isn't it? I guess you prefer us lib-trolls ;-)

     
  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Actually yes.... Diana, you're not a troll. A troll is someone who posts here and there, whose sole purpose is to cause a rucus. You aren't here to cause a rucus, correct?

     
  • At 4:14 PM, Blogger NDwalters said…

    Although, I have a serious reservation on how this aide can be obtained without raising taxes.... Well, Bush said, he's not raising taxes(shit, I think his pops said that also...)..... Yeah, I'm holding him to that, last term or no. However, where will the money come from? I can suggest some cuts. The Highway Act, just signed, has pork barrel all over it, and more fat to trim off than fitting Orson Welles into a casket....Also, the military needs its increases. Education. Some stuff will have to be cutback. Decisions decisions.....

    Ranando, do you have a solution?

     
  • At 6:22 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Might I suggest we def not cut back education.

     
  • At 4:54 AM, Blogger Ranando said…

    I do have a solution.

    IRAQ: Win it or get out.

    If we are there to win this war then let's do it. If not then let's get the hell out of there.

    The sooner we win it or get out, the sooner we have money for Recovery, billions.

     
  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger chefwes said…

    same thing we SHOULD have done in Vietnam, would have saved thousands of American lives and MILLIONS of asian lives.
    For once, I find myself in agreement with ranando

     
  • At 5:59 PM, Blogger Ranando said…

    Chefwes,

    I'm sure we agree on a lot more than just this.

     
  • At 8:02 PM, Blogger chefwes said…

    Judging strictly from your comments, that would be very hard to believe

     
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