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Katrina Report Falls Short In Many Important Areas

THOMPSON SAYS WHITE HOUSE KATRINA REPORT FALLS SHORT IN MANY IMPORTANT AREAS

February 23, 2006 - Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member on the Committee on Homeland Security, made the following statement regarding the White House report on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita:

"Though the White House report acknowledges the failure of our national response to Katrina and proposes much needed reforms, it falls short in many areas. We are less that 100 days away from the upcoming hurricane season and there is much left undone. One of the critical things missing from the report is a call for an experienced permanent director of FEMA with a direct line to the President when disaster strikes. It saddens me that we have had an "acting" director for FEMA since last fall and there has been little discussion on when a permanent director will be named.

"In addition, while acknowledging that preparedness, response and recovery need to be integrated and synchronized, this report does not recommend a reversal of Secretary Chertoff's ill-advised separation of these preparedness and response efforts at the Department. This is a disconnect that must be addressed.

"While many of the report's recommendations are a step in the right direction, it is unclear how the Administration plans to pay for these new programs and initiatives or how it will budget for rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Simply providing recommendations is not enough for the American people. It certainly is not enough for the citizens of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Texas whose communities remain in ruin. If immediate actions are not taken to assure the security of our homeland, then the leadership of these efforts in the Administration must be reviewed and the failure remedied.

"Last week, the Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee called for hearings related to Hurricane Katrina. We asked that a Congressional delegation go down to the Gulf so that we can both rebuild and prepare for the next hurricane season. In light of the White House's report, these hearings and the Gulf Coast visit should be a priority.

"I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress, as well as the White House, plan to do more than issue a report and move on. Whole communities along the Gulf Coast are relying on us to do the right thing."


ENDS



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