[StBernard] US Senators Request Help From President Bush For Louisiana

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Feb 12 21:25:30 EST 2007

WASHINGTON - Another attempt is being made to request a waiver of
Louisiana's match to money spent by FEMA in relationship to Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita. This attempt comes at a very highlevel as it includes
United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev and Government
Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. Another signatory to the
letter sent to President Bush is United States Senator and Disaster Recovery
Chairman Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.

On Friday, the three powerful Senators sent a letter to President George W.
Bush requesting a waiver of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
10 percent state match requirement. The State of Louisiana has been
required to provide a 10 percent match for every dollar made available
through FEMA's public assistance program spent in the aftermath of
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the devastating failure of the Federal levee

"As you are aware, the State of Louisiana has been called upon to provide a
ten percent match for every dollar made available through FEMA's public
assistance program in connection with the effort to recover from Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita," the senators wrote. "The rationale for this match may be
sound in the case of an ordinary disaster. However, given the unique
magnitude of this disaster, and the extremely difficult circumstances that
Louisiana now faces, we believe that the most appropriate step for the
Federal government is to waive the match requirement in this case.

"While the people of Louisiana are grateful to the nation for the help that
they have received, the state still confronts a massive shortfall between
the dollars that have come in from all sources and the real costs of
recovery, a shortfall that the state estimates to be $40 billion. The $1
billion in matching funds that Louisiana could be required to send to the
Federal government could be better spent on rental assistance, mental
health, school infrastructure and a variety of other needs that have fallen
through the cracks of the Stafford Act."

FEMA has waived the 10 percent match requirement after several recent
disasters, including the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane
Andrew. "Since 1985, FEMA has granted waivers of the state match for public
assistance in 32 different disasters. Yet having been battered by the first
and third worst hurricanes in United States history, Louisiana must still
meet the match requirement," the Senators wrote.

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