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One Year After Katrina... Billions of $$$ Wasted

One Year After Katrina...
Billions of Dollars Wasted and America Remains Vulnerable

Monday, August 28, 2006 - Nearly one year has passed since Hurricane Katrina's landfall wrought havoc on the Gulf Coast, however, a new report issued by the Democratic Members on the U.S. House Committee Homeland Security finds that the nation is not much more prepared to effectively protect our communities and respond to catastrophic emergencies. The report, "One Year Later: Katrina's Waste," further develops several important contracting questions raised late last week by Democratic colleagues at the House Committee on Government Reform. In addition, the report urges Congress to address the institutional failures and poor emergency financial controls that continue to leave America vulnerable.

"This is a stark reminder of the federal government's failures of organization, imagination, and mitigation, which left our communities in the Gulf Coast out to dry last year. Sadly, when it comes to catastrophic planning, this Administration has been pennywise and pound foolish. Billions of American tax dollars and donations were wasted. Worse yet, the small businesses in or near communities hard hit by the storm were never afforded the opportunity to rebuild their own communities," said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security.

The report details over $7 billion of contracts, much of which was wasted since Hurricane Katrina made landfall. This was largely the result of a lack of preparation and staffing shortages at FEMA; the same problems that still exist today.

"The Administration's irresponsible contracting processes have cost taxpayers billions of dollars," stated Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC), the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations. "Congress must exercise its oversight of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security on this issue so that the agency can reform its contracting process. This is not only about saving taxpayers money, it's about ensuring that FEMA gets the job done. A year after Hurricane Katrina hit, the damage is still not cleaned up in the Gulf Coast, and these contracting processes are partly to blame," said Rep. Etheridge.

The Report is attached or can be viewed at:
http://chsdemocrats.house.gov

###

United States House of Representatives
Committee on Homeland Security - Democratic Staff
http://hsc-democrats.house.gov

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