"Today, exactly one month after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Leader Reid and I are here to say that after a failed initial response to Katrina, the Bush Administration and Republican Leadership in Congress continue to fail to provide for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The priority of Republicans has been to help their friends at the expense of helping people. They are out of touch with the people of the Gulf Coast region who struggle to find housing, jobs, and schools for their children.
One month after the Bush Administration failed to envoke the Insurrection Act and usurp state power and brushing aside the abysmal failure of Blanco and Nagin; the devastated states have not miraculously been rebuilt. Housing, schools and business should all be rebuilt by now.
"Today, a month after the storm, less than a quarter of the relief money appropriated by Congress has reached the hundreds of thousands of families in need. Shamefully, 100,000 households have received absolutely no assistance from FEMA at all. The needs of the Katrina survivors - health care, housing, economic security and education - are not being met.
Less than a quarter of the relief money has been pissed away thru poor planning. Health care, housing, educationa and jobs already provided by other states and private citizens and organizations are not good enough for us. Survivors should suck at govermental teats!
"Meanwhile, the Katrina response remains plagued by cronyism; cronyism that gives jobs to the friends of the Bush Administration without qualifications for those jobs and cronyism that gives contracts to their corporate friends without bidding. In fact, in the days following Katrina, Republicans teamed up with Halliburton and other contractors to have a 'Katrina Reconstruction Summit' in the Hart Senate Building to help government contractors profit from relief funds. Shouldn't this be under different auspices?
We may have a genuine point with "Brownie" and Halliburton sounds scary. Companies large enough to handle large scale rebuilding of infrastructure are good targets to rally our base with.
"In terms of health care, instead of cutting red tape to help victims get the health care they need, the White House is pursuing a confusing and limited bureaucratic approach that leaves many survivors without access to care at all. Democrats support a bipartisan, simple, and fair solution to cut red tape and allow Medicaid to provide temporary health care coverage to survivors in whatever state they are living in now.
Medicaid is our pet project and we don't like this talk of funding rebuilding with money that Medicaid might eat up. Universal Healthcare would solve this problem!
"In terms of housing, a full three weeks after Katrina hit, fewer than 13,000 of the 200,000 families in need of housing assistance have received any assistance at all. Victims need housing now. We cannot allow families to continue to live in emergency shelters. Democrats have proposed using emergency housing vouchers to get people in homes immediately, and we support funding for construction and repair of affordable housing in the disaster area to ensure families have homes in the long- term.
Rita? That wasn't really a storm. Putting people in mobile homes in a flood and hurricane zone with another Cat 4 on the way is a smart idea.
We want to make it as costly as possible for employers to rebuild down there. Never mind that relaxing regulations is the surest way to get companies to hire there and not write those states as to costly to do business in. Taxpayers should pay it all. Americans are not taxed enough.
"In terms of economic security, instead of giving hope to the families of Katrina and now Rita, that have been hard hit in this area, the Bush Administration is making it harder for Hurricane victims to make ends meet. Instead of paying the prevailing wage, which is standard for the region, they have waived that requirement so contractors can pay a lower wage. Poverty was central to some of the tragedy, and instead of alleviating poverty, this Administration, by Presidential decree, has said they can pay a lower wage to these workers to rebuild the area.
"Democrats want to give people the opportunities and security they need to rebuild their lives - by requiring federal contractors pay prevailing wage, increasing and extending Unemployment Insurance benefits, and ensuring that the burden does not fall upon hard-hit states by providing 100 percent federal funding.
"In terms of education, rather than helping get children back to school, the Bush Administration is using this tragedy to advance its controversial agenda for education vouchers. The Gulf Coast Region is no place for political opportunism or ideological experimentation.
"Democrats instead, have proposed a comprehensive plan to get children back to school by providing resources and assistance to school districts and by providing student loans for relief.
Louisiana Democrats are known for opportunism and and the Crecent City was was the product of OUR ideological experimentation, we don't want that to change. School vouchers might give everyone a chance to put their kids in a school that works for them, upsetting unions we are beholden for votes to. Please don't make the unions mad.
"Republicans in Washington D.C. are plagued by a culture of corruption. An ethical cloud hangs over the Capitol. The House Republican Leader has been indicted, the Senate Republican Leader is under investigation, the President's chief political adviser is under investigation, the White House's chief procurement officer was arrested last week, and the web that entangles the Republicans in the House, the Senate, and in the White House, Jack Abramoff, has been investigated and indicted. This culture or corruption must stop.
Make hay out of DeLay, and we will allude to Rove but not name him because we are not protected in a salt circle. Never mind corruption in the Democratic side of the aisle.