WASHINGTON — Stung by criticism from within their own
ranks that they have abandoned the Gulf Coast, House
Democratic leaders filed long-awaited legislation Thursday
to relieve hurricane-battered Louisiana of nearly $1.8
billion in recovery costs. They also promised that more help
is coming next month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also established a
“working group” of Gulf Coast lawmakers to develop
hurricane recovery legislation and assigned staffers from
key committees to write and monitor bills.
Hoyer said there would be no Katrina-Rita committee, but
Melancon said he was happy with the “working
group” offered by Pelosi. Under the plan, committees
such as Ways & Means, Appropriations, and Financial
Services each would have a staffer responsible for working
with a team of Gulf Coast lawmakers to develop legislation.
At the afternoon meeting, the group set a mid-March
timeline for moving legislation from the committees and to
the House floor for votes.
Good on the Dems for listening and taking some action. Democrats also introduced the Clyburn bill which would forgive $950 million in loans to already cash strapped communities and also erase the cost sharing requirement of the Stafford Act which has slowed recovery efforts.
TP notes that…“The Bush administration has
opposed exempting Mississippi and Louisiana of their
cost-share obligations.”Apparently Dollar Bill Jefferson who met with Bush thinks the prez will not veto the legislation. We’ll see…