|Bush Approves Emergency Spending for Hurricane Katrina|
|By Scott Stearns |
03 September 2005
President Bush has approved $10.5 billion of emergency spending to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Bush signed the measure after touring storm damage in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
President Bush says the more than $10 billion is just a small down payment on what will be needed to help rebuild from the storm. More than two million people are still without power in the worst hit areas, and Mr. Bush says recovery will require the nation's attention for a long time.
Responding to criticism from both Republicans and Democrats that the federal government has been slow to respond to the storm which made land five days ago, President Bush conceded that results so far are not acceptable."I am satisfied with the response," he said. "I am not satisfied with all the results."
President Bush singled out continuing insecurity in the city of New Orleans, where many gun shops were looted and some rescue workers have been shot at. During an aerial tour of the city, Mr. Bush saw several fires burning out of control.
The president met with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who earlier criticized state and federal officials for not having a clue about what is going on in the city. Mr. Bush said the situation clearly requires more than one day's attention, and where things are not going right, he says he will make them right.
"This is a huge task that we are dealing with, and our job as people in positions of responsibility is not to be satisfied until the job is done as good as it can possibly be done, and that is what I was referring to," said President Bush. "I'm certainly not denigrating the efforts of anybody. But the results can be better in New Orleans. And I intend to work with the folks to make it better."
The president is also facing criticism that the war in Iraq has made things worse because many local National Guard troops who would usually assist in such a large natural disaster are deployed overseas.
President Bush said there are enough National Guard members to meet the needs of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. He said the nation has more than enough resources to fight a war in Iraq and help Americans at home.
"We've got a job to defend this country in the war on terror, and we've got a job to bring aid and comfort to the people of the Gulf Coast, and we'll do both," he said. "We've got plenty of resources to do both. The people just got to know we've got what it takes to do more than one thing. And we will secure our country from the terrorists and we will help rebuild this part of the world."
During his tour of New Orleans, Democrat Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu asked the president to appoint a cabinet-level official to oversee the recovery effort. White House officials say that is something they are considering, and at this point they are not ruling anything out.
President Bush Saturday continues his push to reassure Americans that he is on top of the recovery effort by making it the focus of his weekly radio address, which he will deliver live from the White House Rose Garden.