Vice President Joe Biden is now pushing for a further extension of government programs to aid New Orleans rebuild after the deadly flood of Hurricane Katrina.
Democrats and Republicans are debating whether to extend through December an $8.4 billion project to rebuild levees around New Orleans and protect the city from another storm.
Politico reported this morning that “Key Democrats are demanding more time for the administration to push for improvements to the post-Katrina rebuilding program in order to make sure all it is offering to relief is ‘what we all need’.
“The plan calls for $8.4 billion to rebuild New Orleans levees and protect the city from another major storm, but Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee are demanding that the measure include a number of more specific construction projects, despite the likelihood that the continuing bipartisan bill will pass the Senate next week.”
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) explains her motivation to Politico
In an article this morning by Gerald Seib, Reuters notes:
“‘Once you start fixing things they aren’t as bad as you thought,’ Biden said last week during a trip to LaPlace, the city’s easternmost community, which is in the line of fire from levee breaches. He said he was only beginning to work with Congress to resolve what he called a ‘stacked deck’ of problems and delays in recovery.”
President Obama proposed a $50 billion fund to help families make up for lost wages and has pledged millions of federal dollars to rebuild cities and provide relief to Gulf coast states devastated by storm.
Biden said on Thursday that the “Learn by a Critter” program for families looking to rebuild their lives after Katrina would not be finished in time to meet the deadline.
Huffington Post reports:
“The Learn by a Critter program includes 200 subcontractors who will give families 15 days to recover their belongings from destroyed or damaged homes. The Vice President will visit a renovated home at the New Orleans Healing Center on Friday to promote ‘learn by a critter’ programs, which he will say are the only ones providing relief in the post-Katrina rebuilding economy.
“Biden said that the first homes to be refurbished are now being completed and many families have already gone ahead with renovation, which he described as a ‘very positive sign for the long-term economic health of New Orleans.'”
Biden also suggested that he’s working with Congress to ensure “that the programs that we are sponsoring for folks here, that we’ve now accelerated the work to accelerate the rebuilding as much as we can, are in fact what we all need.”
The Breitbart.com is another site that is promoting this story. The headline of their article is ‘Obama Wants More Time to Make Affordable Housing in New Orleans as Affordable as It Used to Be.’