Democrats: “not only prudent, but vital to the recovery”

The NYT has an editorial today on the Bush administration’s refusal to waive the 10 percent local match required of Gulf states for federal Katrina recovery funds by the Stafford Act. That is in spite of the fact that this requirement was often waived in past disasters…

Since 1985, the local matching requirement has been waived entirely
for 32 separate disasters. It was waived for the State of Florida after
Hurricane Andrew, when damage was $139 for each Floridian. It was
waived again for New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, which cost
$390 per New Yorker.

Yet somehow the Bush administration has
not found it necessary to forgive the local match for Gulf Coast states
after the double-whammy of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, except for
costs associated with debris removal and some emergency services —
despite the fact that the two storms wreaked roughly $6,700 worth of
damage per capita in Louisiana. This inaction is particularly
surprising, given that such a large proportion of the damage can be
attributed to the failure of the federal levees that were supposed to
protect the New Orleans area.

Blanco has been requesting such a waiver since September 2005 and at least now it appears a Democratic Congress is giving support…

Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana has been asking
President Bush for the waiver since September 2005, shortly after
Katrina struck. Last week a group of Democratic senators led by Harry
Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, sent a letter urging President
Bush to make this change, however belatedly. They called that step “not
only prudent, but vital to the recovery.”

We agree. And if President Bush won’t do it, Congress should legislate the change. (all emphasis mine)

The Stafford Act needs an overhaul but until that time the Democrats need to waive this requirement if Bush will not and I doubt he will. As the WSJ noted “the requirement has delayed projects while cash-strapped towns in two of the U.S.’s poorest states try to rustle up financing.” Given the requirement is impeding the recovery and it has been waived so often in the past, more and more the administration’s refusal to do so now simply looks like punishment. This from the guy who said yesterday…”I made a name by being compassionate.” Heckuva compassion.

(h/t Loki at Humid City for NYT editorial)

2 thoughts on “Democrats: “not only prudent, but vital to the recovery”

  1. virgotex says:

    scout, out of curiosity, at what level does this apply? State or county/parish? Are states expected to do this match or is it county by county?

  2. scout prime says:

    Virgotex…from my read of Stafford Act it applies to state and local governments. I believe it would depend on who is requesting funds for what project …i.e. whether it would be a city asking for city project or state for state project.
    Here is link for Stafford Act…
    http://www.fema.gov/about/stafact.shtm

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