Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bush Continues to Block Baker Bill

U.S. Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge tried last year to get legislation passed that would use treasury bonds to buy back damaged homes at 60% of equity and then parcels would be packaged and redeveloped. These are home that were without flood insurance outside the flood zone. LA officials and residents believe the Baker Bill is essential for the rebuilding of NOLA. Yet the White House would not support the bill and blocked its passage. Bush continues to oppose the legislation. Bush wants LA to use Community Development Block Grants to aid homeowners instead of passing the Baker Bill.

The White House points out that Mississippi has said it will use CDBG money it received for aiding homeowners and Bush wants Louisiana to do the same. Problem is Louisiana only received $6.2 billion in CDBG yet faces a problem more than twice the size of Mississippi which none the less received $5.3 billion in CDBG funding. There are 35,000 damaged homes without flood insurance outside the flood zone in MS. But LA has 77,000 such homes and another 140,000 in the floodplain. LA Gov Blanco states they need a large part of the $6.2 billion to replace infrastructure "including hospital repairs, university support, sewer and water service and electricity."

Clearly Louisiana is being shortchanged. LA leaders say they need either the Baker Bill or $9 billion more in CDBG funding to equal the payments MS will be able to make to homeowners.

Pressure should be brought to bear on the White House to pass the Baker Bill.
Help the people of LA and Call or email W at the White House to tell him to end his oppososition to the Baker Bill. And also call your reps.

To call the White House......202-456-1111
To Email White House.....comments@whitehouse.gov

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