Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastation upon striking the Gulf Coast:
“Three years ago today, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, becoming the worst natural disaster in America's history. Tragically, this terrible natural disaster turned catastrophic for millions of Gulf Coast residents when it was met with the failures and cronyism of the Bush Administration and the Republican-led Congress. The Republican leadership failed to respond adequately to enact much of the critically-needed relief for those whose lives had been up-ended by the storm.
“As a result of the Republicans' failure to serve and protect the residents of the Gulf Coast, one of the top priorities of the New Direction Congress in 2007 was to enact a much-delayed Gulf Coast Recovery package. The Democratic-controlled Congress developed a $6.4 billion package to bolster the levees, restore coastlines, recruit teachers, open schools, provide health care, and assist small business. The President signed this critical bill in May 2007.
“Last month, I accompanied House Democratic Majority Whip James E. Clyburn as he led a 22-member Congressional delegation on our third visit to the Gulf Coast since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We visited several sites in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and coastal Mississippi to determine where the region stands on the issues of health care, housing, education, infrastructure, criminal justice, insurance reform and infrastructure, including rebuilding the levees.
“While we have made progress in the last three years, we recognize that key needs remain in the Gulf Coast that must be addressed. House Democrats pledge to continue working with the region in a partnership to spur the economic recovery of the Gulf Coast region, fund innovative initiatives, and ensure that the basic needs of its residents are met.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the region as they brace for Tropical Storm Gustav.”