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Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Presidents Request for the Additional 1.5 Billion for New Orleans Levee System Has Been Lost?

 
3/10/2006 From "More Homework Needed for this Brain Teaser" Update - More Homework done and details added....
What is going on with the additional 1.5 Billion (for a total 3.1 billion) obligated towards New Orleans levee system? The President stated, the newspapers reported and the White House website fact sheet documents; that the 1.5 billion in additional requested funding was put in place to be provided. But the spokeperson for the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations stated publicly that the request was never received. Several different sources have been identified and listed below. This has opened up an extremely interesting process on how our President makes a request to Congress. What constitutes an executive request and how does Congress go into action when such requests are received. And in this case...Not received. Seemingly there are some fascinating differences in the process, than what I can recall from the past. I may be wrong and it has been a long time since I have reviewed the White House website for information. I will have to spend more time at the site and learn more.

3/11/2006 Emailed to.....
Emailed to U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Members -http://appropriations.senate.gov/members/members.htm

Sen. Inouye, Hawaii - Sen. Byrd,W. Virginia - Sen. Leahy, Vermont - Sen. Harkin, Iowa - Sen. Mikulski, Maryland - Sen. Reid, Nevada - Sen. Kohl, Wisconsin - Sen. Murray, Washington - Sen. Dorgan, N. Dakota - Sen. Feinstein, California - Sen. Durban, Illinois - Sen. Johnson, S. Dakota - cc: to Senator Landrieu, Louisiana - Sen. Allard, Colorado - Sen. Brownback, Kansas - Sen. Dewine, Ohio - Sen. Bennet, Utah - Sen. Craig, Idaho - Sen. Hutchinson, Texas - Sen. Gregg, New Hamphsire - Sen. Shelby, Alabama - Sen. Burns, Montana - Sen. McConnell, Kentucky - Sen. Bond, Missouri - Sen. Domenici, New Mexico - Sen. Spector, Pennsylvania - Sen. Stevens, Alaska - Sen. Cochran, Mississippi. Also included were Senator Akaka, Hawaii and Senator Dayton, Minnesota...because of their participation in the Katrina Hearings.


Dear U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Member:
On 3/8/2006 I picked up on a print media news story that said....

"Jenny Manley, a spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that although the White House had announced in a news conference it wanted the full $3.1 billion to go to New Orleans, the official request was never sent to Congress. "

I have found several news print stories from 12/2005 stating that additional funds were requested by the President and have checked the White House e-site of news statements made. The monies for the New Orleans levee system are stated in writing that the additional funds will be provided.
I also checked other matters on the fact sheets (see examples below) where funds were also requested by the President to lend aid.
It reads as fact, states as fact and therefore is perceived as fact. I would like to learn why this specific additional funding is being identified by the President as fact, disputed by an Appropriations spokesperson and now seems to be stuck in the aftermath twighlight zone?
It may not be a significant sum to one who is submerged in the daily federal grind of spending money, but it is an amount that could help add protection to New Orleans levee system, therefore protecting lives and property always. And especially after this latest slap in the face to Louisiana lawmakers and its citizens, who tirelessly put forth the effort to document and calculate, in detail, their monetary needs.
So, I find it curious and disheartening that for some reason the Presidents request never got to the right persons. Whether by error or intentional, I truly hope that the additional funding can be officially added to the rightful amount that is owed to New Orleans. The entire Gulf Coast is not another continent -- on the other side of the world, it is a part of the United States. For all who inhabit the Gulf Coast, they need to be made whole, healthy and hopeful. That would be a positive benefit to our entire country. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,


12/15/2006
White House Website - Fact Sheet..Link...

Providing Better And Stronger Protection - An Additional $1.5 Billion

Today, Federal Coordinator For Gulf Coast Rebuilding Donald Powell Announced New Actions To Provide Additional Safety And Security Measures In Order To Address The Large-Scale, Catastrophic Effects Of Another Hurricane Katrina. By providing safety and security for the residents of New Orleans, these actions will promote a favorable climate for reinvestment and new economic enterprise.

The additional protections include:

Accelerating the completion of previously authorized levee projects;
Armoring levees to improve reliability;
Closing the three interior canals (17th Street, Orleans, and London Avenue);
Installing state-of-the-art pump stations at the lakefront; and
Raising the existing non-Federal levees to Federal design standards.
These actions will address the main causes of the flooding during Katrina, namely the failure of the existing system and the flooding associated with the interior canals.

All of these actions can be substantially completed within three years and will provide greater flood and storm protection for the most densely populated areas of Greater New Orleans.

2 examples of 'Requests' from the fact sheet on the White House e-site....

December 14, 2005

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am notifying the Congress of my intent to use funds provided in Public Law 107-38, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States, FY 2001, for improvements to the White House Situation Room to enhance the capabilities of the White House in the war on terrorism.

At this time, $3.3 million will be transferred from the Emergency Response Fund to the Department of Defense. As provided in Public Law 107-38, these funds will be made available to the Department of Defense immediately.

The details of this action are set forth in the enclosed letter from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Sincerely,

GEORGE W. BUSH

Statement on Federal Assistance for Alaska 12/9/2005

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Alaska and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a severe fall storm, tidal surges, and flooding from September 22-26, 2005.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe fall storm, tidal surges, and flooding in the Bering Strait Regional Education Attendance Area, Kashunamiut Regional Education Attendance Area, Lower Kuskokwim Regional Education Attendance Area, and the Northwest Artic Borough.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

R. David Paulison, Acting Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Dennis Hunsinger as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

The Agency said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FEMA (202) 646-4600


3/8/2006 - The Presidents Visit to New Orleans...

From Reuters, Stuff.co, ABC News, Independent Online,etc., "Jenny Manley, a spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that although the White House had announced in a news conference it wanted the full $3.1 billion to go to New Orleans, the official request was never sent to Congress."

President Bush, "Congress heard our message about improving the levees but they shortchanged the process by about $1.5 billion dollars," Bush said in a rare attack on members of his own party as he toured the devastated city."

Print Media Reports...
12/22/2005 - Associated Press
Last week, Bush pledged to rebuild New Orleans' shattered levee system taller and stronger than before Hurricane Katrina struck, requesting an additional $1.5 billion to buttress the system that failed and left the city flooded.

12/17/2005 - Chicago Sun Times
WASHINGTON -- President Bush pledged Thursday to rebuild New Orleans' shattered levee system taller and stronger than before Hurricane Katrina struck.
He requested an additional $1.5 billion to buttress the system that failed and left the city flooded.
"The federal government is committed to building the best levee system known in the world," said Donald Powell, the top federal official for reconstruction.
Officials dodged the question of whether the levees would be built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, using broader language instead to promise that the new levees would exceed anything New Orleans had ever seen.

3/8/2006 -
"Congress heard our message about improving the levees but they shortchanged the process by about $1.5 billion dollars," Bush said in a rare attack on members of his own party as he toured the devastated city.
"And so in order to help fulfill our promise on the levees, Congress needs to restore the $1.5 billion to make this a real commitment to inspire the good folks down here that they have a levee system that will encourage development and reconstruction," Bush added.
The White House in December announced it was seeking $3.1 billion to bolster flood defenses, but Congress only approved about half that amount for New Orleans with the rest going to other hurricane-related projects.
Link Link

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