Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP RELEASES REPORT ON FAILED REPUBLICAN RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA

One Year after the Storm, Needs of Survivors Remain Unmet

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released “Broken Promises: The Republican Response to Katrina,” a new report detailing the failed response in the almost one year since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast. One year after the hurricanes showed the American people that even so long after 9/11 their government was still not prepared to protect them, the report makes clear the disastrous effects incompetence and mismanagement continue to have on Gulf Coast residents. As the Bush Administration seeks to trumpet its “accomplishments” in the year since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this report makes clear how much work remains to be done. A copy of the report is attached to this release.

Key findings include:

  • Thousands of families are still waiting for FEMA trailers.
  • An estimated 11 percent of the $19 billion that has been spent by FEMA -or $2 billion – has been waste, fraud and abuse.
  • 80 percent of Gulf Coast businesses with approved SBA disaster loans are still waiting to get their loans.
  • The Republican Congress didn’t enact needed housing money for homeowners in Louisiana until June, 10 months after Katrina – and the money has still failed to reach these homeowners.
  • Only three of the 10 acute-care hospitals in New Orleans have re-opened; the only public hospital, Charity, has still not re-opened.
  • Only 56 of 128 public schools in New Orleans are enrolling students this fall.

“One year ago, Katrina and Rita taught the American people the terrible lesson that their government was not prepared to protect them,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “Unfortunately, one year after the hurricanes and five years after 9/11, Bush Republicans in Washington still have not taken that lesson to heart. After so much incompetence and failure that put too many Americans at risk, it is time for a new direction. Across the Gulf Coast, we need a real change from the failed promises of the last year to a new spirit of hope and recovery that will finally rebuild this vital region. Across America, we need a real change that will create the tough AND smart policies that will give the American people the real security they expect and deserve.”

“In our Gulf Coast, the tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors are still engaged in an unparalleled struggle to rebuild their lives,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Meanwhile, back in Washington, President Bush is holding a public relations blitz that the survivors of Katrina can ill afford. The response to Hurricane Katrina was disastrous – the Bush Administration failed to keep Americans safe. Chaos, confusion, and utter incompetence cannot continue. It is time for a new direction, where despair and destruction are replaced by hope and renewal.”

Senator Reid will travel to Louisiana this week to tour St. Bernard Parish with Senator Mary Landrieu and local officials. Leader Pelosi will join 20 of her House Democratic colleagues to travel to the Gulf Coast next week.

Click here to download a PDF version of the report. »

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