If you think that title is kinda pushing the limit, then wait till you see what the President has to say! Quick, think back and try to remember all the promises made during all his photo ops. Now take a look at what he says now. Remember, think Jackson Square!
Imagine going out to dinner with a friend who offers to pick up the tab. But when the $50 bill comes, he throws $40 on the table and says the tip is included.
That’s how Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office describes President Bush’s refusal to waive the requirement for Louisiana to pay a 10 percent match on any federal disaster relief money received for recovery projects. The waiver would amount to $750 million to $1 billion of additional relief money for Louisiana, said Landrieu, D-New Orleans.
The Robert T. Stafford Act requires state and local governments to match 25 percent of any federal disaster money received, such as Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance projects associated with hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The federal cost share for permanent work in Louisiana has been adjusted from 75 percent to 90 percent.
Okay, so some might think that the match is fair. So what if it was waved for some, and they did not have the volume of destruction that was done here? Well look no further than 9/11. It was done then, but Bush doesn't think that the very same thing that over stepped the federal government's ability, is beyond our control. He couldn't do what was right for one storm, much less three major storms in one summer! Now people on the right have it in their minds that people should do it on their own. I have this to say to them: Remember the gas prices after Katrina, and remember that real clear. What crippled the feds, brought the nation to gas prices that soared almost over night.
Now Bush would not get this kind of rebuke, if he would not have made so many photo ops with a promise. With the war in Iraq, Katrina and Rita are forgotten to most. I myself, support closing off our pipelines to jolt the memory of the nation. Buying time till the office is thrown on the back of someone else, and then blaming them for all the failures of Bush, is not going to work.
The House and Senate are ironing out differences between respective Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bills passed before Easter. Both contain emergency relief packages for Louisiana wiping out the Gulf Coast’s 10 percent match and funding the Iraq War and global anti-terrorism campaigns.
Bush has promised to veto a Gulf Coast package, which totals $2.38 billion out of $121 billion in the Senate and includes the 10 percent waiver.
The White House maintains $1 billion was provided for the 10 percent match in the $10.4 billion in community development block grants already awarded to Louisiana. Bush also vows to veto any new funding or legislative attempt to waive the 10 percent match.
Notice that it is not mentioned because it is in the bill it is in. He just does not want it! Now the waver, is not a new thing.
Bush ignores a major problem with using CDBG funds for the 10 percent match, said Landrieu spokesman Adam Sharp.
“It ignores the greater paperwork issue,” Sharp said. “Right now, each of the more than 20,000 public assistance projects require two different sets of paperwork — one for (the Department of Housing and Urban Development) to confirm that you are allowed to use CDBG funds to pay the 10 percent, and one for FEMA to confirm that disaster funds can be used for the other 90 percent. The paperwork can take months, if not years, to complete, per project. The red tape alone is enough to strangle recovery.”
Donald Powell, federal coordinator of Gulf Coast rebuilding, said using CDBG funds for the 10 percent match would slow the recovery but there are a few ways around it.
“We suggested ways to deal with (the red tape),” Powell said. “Louisiana can give back $750 million worth of CDBG and the match will be waived. I would support that.”
Louisiana could also use $750 million of its $827-million budget surplus to pay for the local match in one lump sum and then replenish its coffers with CDBG funds down the road. But Landrieu cites previous cases when Bush waived the 10 percent match, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York.
“Yes, (President Bush) did waive it in 9/11 but the CDBG money Louisiana received is well above anything that (any other state) has received,” said Powell.
But that is not the only case mind you. There are other cases, and it makes one think.
The federal government has waived the entire state and local match twice before, said FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Rodi.
FEMA covered 100 percent of the costs for 2000’s Cerro Grande wildfire in Los Alamos, N.M., and for New York after Sept. 11. In other disasters, such as Hurricane Andrew, the match was reduced greatly but not erased.
It makes me think the same thing I have wondered for so long, Why do they hate us?