Skip to comments.Official: Hurricane-hit states need federal help akin to 9/11 aid
Posted on 11/28/2005 2:13:26 PM PST by Ellesu
WASHINGTON -- Congress hasn't given the same attention and aid to states slammed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita as it did to New York after the 2001 terror attacks because the storms didn't spark as much patriotism, Louisiana's economic development chief said Monday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, state Economic Development Secretary Michael J. Olivier called Congress' response to terrorism very different "from an act of God" like a hurricane. "I guess it's different because it was such a patriotic deal," said Olivier, in Washington to attend a meeting of rebuilding and economic recovery officials from the Gulf Coast.
Olivier would not say precisely how much federal aid Louisiana will need to rebuild New Orleans and other devastated parts of the state, but said it could range between $100 billion and $200 billion and take a decade to complete.
That's up to 10 times more than the $20 billion pledged by President Bush and approved by Congress to help New York rebuild after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"But it's 10 times the area also," Olivier said. "So the magnitude has to be measured."
"In many cases, we don't ask for amounts," he said. "In many cases, we ask for something to be done."
The Louisiana Recovery Authority, of which Olivier is a member, is expected to announce a more precise aid request after a meeting Thursday, a spokeswoman said.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist declined to respond to Olivier's remarks before seeing Louisiana's aid request. But spokesman Bob Stevenson said, "We have been responsive to the requests that have been coming forth, and we certainly have been working with the delegation from the Gulf Coast."
Congress bristled at an earlier request for $250 billion by Louisiana's two senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican David Vitter, to help the state recover. That relief package has not been approved.
So far, Congress has approved $62 billion in disaster relief aid for victims of Katrina, which hit Aug. 29, and Rita, which followed on Sept. 24. But nearly all of that money was directed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which so far has spent about half of it on immediate victims' needs _ like housing, food and clothing _ instead of long-term rebuilding projects.
Earlier this month, the House approved legislation to give $8.2 billion in advance returns on tax-exempt bonds and other tax credits to help businesses get back on their feet in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. But Olivier said Louisiana alone needs $30.5 billion from Washington just for short-term loans, grants and tax-exempt bonds to spur the state's economy.
The Senate is still considering the legislation. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bonds, which are federally guaranteed, will cost the government $60 million over the next two years to cover credits that are not repaid.
An estimated 81,000 businesses in Louisiana suffered losses as a result of the hurricanes, affecting a third of the state's economy, Olivier said. In response, state officials turned to New York economic development experts for guidance on how to rebuild businesses after a catastrophic event like 9/11.
"It was based on a model that already existed, and that was the response _ Congress' response _ to 9/11 for New York state," Olivier said. "We had the best model we could find, and that was it."
This is ridiculous.
If I could interject this thought:
9/11 directly involved 16 acres. Katrina did the job on 90,000 square miles. Very different scale.
There are 640 acres per square mile.
9-11 was the first act of war to kill thousands of Americans on American soil. Katrina is hardly the first hurricane to impact the U.S.
Apples and oranges.
I wish they would all shut up.
I'm only surprised it wasn't described in 9/11 terms sooner.
I don't want to give Louisiana any money as long as that smug ass Blanco is still there.
Blanco wouldn't let the feds take over then blamed everything on them. Now she wants the money.
If Louisiana wants some help elect a governor you can trust with the money. She asked for 250 billion right away. Does she think New Orleans is the only city in the U.S.
Blanco blocking the Red Cross from coming in has cost this country at least a hundred billion dollars. WIth the Red Cross in there those images of the evacuees waiting wouldn't have happened. We are paying for Blanco's incompetence not to evacuate and then her incompetence afterward.
Dems are now using New Orleans to promote their agenda. What is hillarious about it is Louisiana is run by all dems and is corrupt as hell. But don't tell the MSM that.
This is ridiculous.