September 14, 2005

The buck stops at Dubya.

A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says that Louisiana governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco took all the required steps needed to secure federal disaster aid for her state, and she completed those steps in a timely manner. The report totally shuts down the right-wing argument that the federal response to Hurricane Katrina was slowed by foot-dragging on Blanco's part.

The report was requested by Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. In a statement accompanying the release of the CRS report, Conyers said: "This report closes the book on the Bush Administration's attempts to evade accountability. The Bush Administration was caught napping at a critical time."

Among the findings of the report:

  • All necessary conditions for federal relief were met on August 28. Pursuant to Section 502 of the Stafford Act, "[t]he declaration of an emergency by the President makes Federal emergency assistance available," and the President made such a declaration on August 28. The public record indicates that several additional days passed before such assistance was actually made available to the State;

  • The Governor must make a timely request for such assistance, which meets the requirements of federal law. The report states that "[e]xcept to the extent that an emergency involves primarily Federal interests, both declarations of major disaster and declarations of emergency must be triggered by a request to the President from the Governor of the affected state";

  • The Governor did indeed make such a request, which was both timely and in compliance with federal law. The report finds that "Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco requested by letter dated August 27, 2005...that the President declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina for the time period from August 26, 2005 and continuing pursuant to [applicable Federal statute]" and "Governor Blanco's August 27,2005 request for an emergency declaration also included her determination...that 'the incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of disaster." [Emphasis added]

You can read the full CRS report here [PDF file].

Via Raw Story.

Posted by Magpie at September 14, 2005 03:50 PM | US News | Technorati links |