Thompson's Real Solutions For Katrina Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thompson Proposes Real Solutions Missing From Katrina Report
Congressman Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement regarding today's release of the House Select Committee's report on the government's preparedness and response to Hurricane Katrina:
"While I commend Chairman Davis and the Select Committee for providing the American people with detailed account of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, their report provides no notable solutions and most not fully hold accountable those most responsible for the failed response.
"This report answers none of the questions that the citizens of the Gulf Coast have been asking. With only four months until the beginning of a new hurricane season, we still are left clueless as to why the levees in New Orleans failed, who should be held accountable for their failure, and how we to protect the region from future disaster.
"The report's findings highlight The Department of Homeland Security's miserable failure in responding to the tragic situation. When thousands of citizens were stranded on rooftops, trapped in the Superdome and Convention Center, FEMA Director Michael Brown and Secretary Chertoff were both missing in action. When our citizens are in need of rescue, it is the job of the government to ensure their safety and security. Brown is gone and I think the Administration needs to seriously consider whether Secretary Chertoff is the best man to continue as head of the Department of Homeland Security.
"Failing to come to the aid of Americans in a dire situation will not be tolerated. We need real solutions to solve these problems. That is why I will be introducing legislation designed to address all that the Select Committee did not. The "Plan to Restore Efficiency and Professional Accountability in Responding to Emergencies" Act - the PREPARE Act - will address the operational problems at FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.
My legislation makes three fundamental recommendations:
1) FEMA must be led by a director statutorily required to possess experience in emergency management.
2) The organizational structure of the Department of Homeland Security must reflect the vital connection between the FEMA director and the President of the United States - the director must report directly to the president during all incidents of national significance.
3) FEMA must operate in accord with the emergency management "cycle" system - requiring the re-unification of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.
"It's long past time for this Congress to come together, putting principle over politics, to restore the confidence of our communities."