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Denial...The Only Way of Life in The Bush Administration
Dems Assail White House on Katrina Effort
Sep 07 12:52 PM US/Eastern
By JENNIFER LOVEN and DAVID ESPO
Associated Press Writers
(Editor's note: "Deny and Lie" seems to be this administrations motto. Deny Iraq is heading towards Civil War; Deny the incompetent war planning; and deny incompetent rescue operations in New Orleans. Then lie, lie, lie--weapons of mass destruction, "last throes of insurgency..." and now: "Those that stayed in New Orleans chose to stay and FEMA did nothing wrong.")
Congress' top two Democrats furiously criticized the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina on Wednesday, with Sen. Harry Reid demanding to know whether President Bush's Texas vacation impeded relief efforts and Rep. Nancy Pelosi assailing the chief executive as "oblivious, in denial" about the difficulties.
With much of New Orleans still under water _ and likely to stay that way for weeks _ Bush readied a request for about $52 billion for relief and recovery along the Gulf Coast, and the White House indicated millions more would be needed later. Congressional officials said they expected to approve the next installment as early as Thursday, to keep the money flowing without interruption.
There was no formal announcement of the details contained in the request, although the Associated Press learned that the government plans to distribute debit cards worth $2,000 each to adult victims of the hurricane.
"They are going to start issuing debit cards, $2,000 per adult, today at the Astrodome," said Kathy Walt, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The cards could be used to buy food, transportation, gas and other essentials that displaced people need, according to a state official who was on the call and requested anonymity because the program has not been publicly announced.
GOP congressional leaders met privately to plan their next step, possibly including an unusual joint House-Senate committee to investigate what went wrong in the government's response and what can be fixed. Establishment of a joint panel would presumably eliminate overlapping investigations that might otherwise spring up as individual committees looked into the natural disaster and its aftermath.
In a letter to the Senate's Homeland Security Committee chairwoman, Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, pressed for a wide-ranging investigation and answers to several questions, including: "How much time did the president spend dealing with this emerging crisis while he was on vacation? Did the fact that he was outside of Washington, D.C., have any effect on the federal government's response?"
At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had "absolutely no credentials."
She related that she urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Brown.
"He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said.
"'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'"
"Oblivious, in denial, dangerous," she added.
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