WASHINGTON – Today Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Committee Member Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) released a report assessing the failures of the Bush Administration to adequately respond to the needs of homeowners and small businesses after the 2005 hurricanes damaged the Gulf Coast.
The report, entitled “Promises Made, Promises Broken: The Bush Administration’s Record on Rebuilding the Gulf Coast,” was released to coincide with President Bush’s tenth visit to the Gulf Coast, and exposes the Administration’s missteps and mismanagement that have undermined the recovery efforts.
“Photo ops will not rebuild the Gulf Coast,” said Senator Kerry. “We need to demand that promises are kept so that New Orleans can come back stronger than before and families can come home. Six months ago, President Bush pledged to ‘do what it takes.’Today marks the tenth time President Bush is visiting the Gulf Coast to say help is on the way. The help is overdue. Nearly 120,000 Gulf Coast residents are still in limbo waiting to even find out if they will get a disaster loan and more than 140,000 others have been turned away by the Bush administration. We’re insisting on accountability. If the Republican Congress won’t do it, we’ll do it for them. Our report today shines a light on a tragic pattern of mismanagement, mistakes and avoidance of real solutions for rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Enough excuses. It’s overdue to give people the help they deserve.
“Today Senator Landrieu and I are releasing a report on the Bush Administration’s mismanagement, mistakes and obstruction of real solutions for rebuilding the Gulf Coast in hopes we can get on the right track and give people the help they deserve,” Kerry added.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Sen. Landrieu said. “There is a great deal of work left to do and we need the Administration, including the SBA, to be a full federal partner in our rebuilding efforts. I hope today’s visit is not just another photo-op, but a turning point in the Administration’s commitment to put the people of the Gulf Coast ahead of Washington politics. When the President returns from today’s visit, he should demand Republican leaders in the House end their threat to block money Louisiana desperately needs to rebuild our homes and communities. That action would send a strong message.”
The report, available here, describes the Administration’s efforts to block key economic recovery legislation, to disregard local requests for bridge loan funds, mismanagement of the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program money, minimal oversight of federal contract awards, and painfully slow loan processing.