Saturday, May 2, 2009

Congress can be stupid

There used to be regularly appearing news stories, every few years, of floods along the Mississippi wiping out individual families and houses and whole subdivisions. Then, the Clinton administration adopted a rule saying that they wouldn't let you use your federal disaster aid to repeatedly rebuild in the same flood prone spot. Instead, the disaster victim was given a check and told to relocate, and the government received title to the flood prone land. In many areas, that land now serves as riverfront parks and walkways and wetlands.

The federal government tried to impose similar common sense after Katrina. In the future, we wouldn't use disaster funds to repeatedly rebuild some millionaire's beach front Gulf view vacation retreat.

The senate's response?

"A senator from Louisiana is stalling Florida emergency management director Craig Fugate's nomination as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. . . . Republican Sen. David Vitter says he has blocked Fugate because of his concerns with FEMA. ''I have a hold on the FEMA nomination because I sent a list of hurricane recovery questions and projects to FEMA, many of which have not been adequately addressed,'' Vitter said . . . Vitter's fellow Louisiana senator, Democrat Mary Landrieu . . . said she understands Vitter's concerns, which apparently relate to FEMA's controversial ''high velocity flood zone'' maps. Federal regulations currently prohibit FEMA from funding new construction in such zones and Louisiana officials want more flexibility. . . . She noted that she shared Vitter's concerns and at Fugate's confirmation hearing questioned him about changing the federal rules that ban new construction."

In a classic example of bipartisan stupid, Louisiana's Republican and Democratic senators have reached across the aisle to fight common sense regulations which attempt to stop people from using federal disaster aid to rebuild in areas where people drown during hurricanes, and where houses have been repeatedly blown away.

I guess the lost revenue of Louisiana construction companies is of more concern to these two senators than the lives of their constituents or the government's fiscal burden of reconstruction.

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