[StBernard] Rep. Melancon Supports Budget Blueprint Designating $4.4 Billion for Ongoing Hurricane Recovery Needs

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu May 17 20:09:11 EDT 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon voted today in support
of the 2008 budget conference report that creates a $3.4 billion reserve
fund for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery priorities. S. Con. Res. 21, the
Federal Budget Resolution for fiscal year 2008, also allocates an additional
$1 billion in discretionary funds for ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery and
relief. Rep. Melancon had urged House leadership to include ongoing
Katrina/Rita recovery needs in this year's budget blueprint, instead of
relying solely on emergency supplemental appropriations as has been done in
the past.

"South Louisiana will take years to fully recover from the complete
devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the federal levee
failures," said Rep. Melancon. "This fiscally responsible budget plan faces
the reality that we still need and deserve help from the federal government
with hurricane recovery. I am grateful my leadership has recognized that
rebuilding the Gulf Coast is a national priority and should be part of the
annual budgeting process. Better planning will make our recovery smoother
and more efficient, and I am pleased to support this budget."

The sections of the budget conference report that pertain to
Katrina/Rita recovery are as follows:


It is the sense of the House that:

(1) Critical needs in the Gulf Coast region should be addressed
without further delay. The budget resolution creates a reserve fund that
would allow for affordable housing that may be used to focus on areas
devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as new funding for
additional recovery priorities.

(2) Additional oversight and investigation is needed to ensure that
recovery efforts are on track, develop legislation to reform the contracting
process, and better prepare for future disasters. Those efforts should be
made in close consultation with residents of affected areas. The budget
resolution provides additional 2007 funding for the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, some of which may be used for this purpose.

The amount of the reserve fund is $3.4 billion.

In addition to the Sense of the House language, Function 600 of the
final Chairman's Mark includes $1 billion in discretionary funds for housing
and income security programs to aid Hurricane Katrina recovery and relief

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