I hope there is a special hell for Congress critters….

From Scout:

This will be devastating to the people of New Orleans. The buyout plan in some form is absolutely essential to rebuilding NOLA. It is time to call your Congressional representative…..

WASHINGTON — Leaders of the House Appropriations Committee have stripped President Bush’s request to earmark $4.2 billion for housing recovery in Louisiana, throwing the state’s rebuilding plan into question and unleashing a scramble among hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast states for a cut of the money.

The committee is scheduled today to begin combing through the administration’s $92 billion supplemental spending request, $19.8 billion of which is for hurricane disaster relief; the rest is for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But in a draft already put together by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., Bush’s intention to steer housing money to Louisiana was removed.

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The earmark change jolted Louisiana leaders who have written a housing rehabilitation plan for 168,813 flood-damaged homes — promising as much as $150,000 for each — that counts on getting the entire $4.2 billion in Community Development Blocks Grants. Officials involved with the rebuilding say they will try to persuade Congress to repeat what it did last year and increase the overall size of the president’s request.

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At a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made an impassioned plea for a larger share of federal hurricane recovery spending than the state has received so far. Of $11.5 billion in federal grants allocated in December, Texas got $72 million.

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In her pitch for a share of the federal disaster money, Blanco once again told senators that the damage in her state is a federal responsibility because breaches in the levees, which were federally designed and built, led to much of the devastation during Katrina. She also said that at a time when Congress is considering $72 billion for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, “surely we can spend $1.5 billion to strengthen the levees (in southeastern Louisiana), $4.2 billion to allow people to come home.”

It is absolutely shameful that Governors must go begging hat in hand and now fight amongst one another like junk yard dogs for what is owed them due to the mistakes of the federal government….

Weather data showing the need to raise the height of levees to defend New Orleans against stronger hurricanes was not incorporated in Army Corps of Engineers designs, even though the agency was informed of the new calculations as early as 1972, government records show.

The heights of floodwalls and levees now being rebuilt by the corps are based on research for a likely worst-case storm done in 1959. When new weather service research in the 1970s increased the size and intensity of that storm and its projected surges, the corps stuck to its original design specifications when work began in the 1980s, including for structures that failed during Hurricane Katrina.

Corps headquarters officials in Washington did not respond to requests for comment. New Orleans District engineers now involved in reassessing the area’s hurricane protection system said the lack of changes in the past probably can be traced the corps’ legal restriction to building only what Congress authorizes.

“I can only guess, but what I think you’ll find is that since the authorization (in the legislation) never changed, then the people involved felt they couldn’t change” design specifications, said Janis Hote, a corps engineer who, like most of the local staff, was not involved in those earlier projects.

Had the changes been incorporated in corps planning starting in 1972, they almost certainly would have resulted in higher or stronger structures in some areas, hurricane researchers said. (Read the rest here)

The city of New Orleans lies in ruins because of mistakes by the federal government. Resident in NOLA told me they don’t want handouts but they want the feds to take responsibility. They are willing to do the hard work to rebuild but the levee issue must be resolved. It must be known what went wrong with the levees so the same mistakes are not made again. Residents and business are waiting to see if safe Category 5 levees will be built before they return and rebuild. Likewise without a buyout plan over 160,000 face financial ruin and NOLA will continue to stand as a mud caked ruined testament to the failure of the US government. Shame on Congress for not taking responsibility. Call your Congressional Representative today. Do it for….

Terry….

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Whose house was across from the 17 St Canal levee break…..

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Or do it for Mary and Jimmy who are fighting for the federal government to take responsibility…

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Or do it for Ricardo whose whose Gentiliy home was flooded to here…..

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Because of a break at the London Ave. Canal….

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Give them a fighting chance. Make the call.