In 2006, when the Gulf Coast was still reeling from the federal government's incompetence and congressional inaction, House Democrats dispatched a delegation to the Gulf Coast to assess the devastation from Katrina and Rita. That trip was a first step in an unwavering partnership House Democrats have established with the Gulf Coast, informing the legislation that eventually became law under Democratic leadership in the 110th Congress. Last week, House Majority Whip Clyburn led Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, Vice-Chair Larson and other House Democrats on their third Congressional Delegation to the Gulf Coast. On their four-day trip, the delegation 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 and insurance reform.
Watch Rep. Steve Israel’s first-hand account of the delegation trip:
Learn more about Gulf Coast recovery legislation signed into law:
FY 2008 Supplemental
Provides $5.8 billion for much-needed efforts to strengthen New Orleans levees in FY 2009, and includes $73 million for Louisiana housing vouchers, for permanent supportive housing vouchers targeted to the extremely low-income, disabled and elderly left homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
FY 2007 Supplemental
Provides $6.4 billion for Gulf Coast Recovery; the Democratic-led Congress added $3 billion to meet specific urgent needs of the Gulf Coast.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Federal Match Relief Act
Waives the local matching requirement for FEMA disaster relief projects, and provides $135 billion in Community Disaster loan forgiveness
Katrina Housing Tax Relief Act
Strengthens tax incentives for building affordable rental housing in hurricane-affected areas of the Gulf Coast, and expands access to low-income financing for homeowners in the region.
Extending Access to Emergency Education Aid
Extends access to education emergency federal funding to pay teachers’ salaries and operate schools for local school districts in areas impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Provides $30 million to help public schools that were impacted by the hurricanes recruit and retain K-12 teachers and administrators, and $30 million to help higher education institutions in the Gulf Coast recruit and retain faculty and students.
Extension of FEMA Utility Subsidy Program
Extends for one more year FEMA’s authority to reimburse local governments for the cost of paying the utility bills of essential local government employees still working and living in temporary housing.
Water Resources Development Act
Authorizes approximately $1.9 billion for the Corps of Engineers projects to restore the Louisiana Coastal Area and help prevent future hurricane damage.
Learn more about Gulf Coast recovery legislation the House has passed in the 110th Congress:
Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act
Speeds the rebuilding of homes and affordable rental units, including by freeing up $1.2 billion for the Louisiana Road Home program; helps preserve the supply of affordable rental housing; helps families by extending the Disaster Voucher Program through January 1, 2008.
Includes numerous provisions to overhaul the Small Business Administration’s disaster assistance program in response to SBA’s disastrous performance after the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.
Disadvantaged Business Disaster Eligibility Act
Ensures that, for each small business that participates in the SBA 8(a) minority entrepreneur program and was affected by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita, the period in which it can participate in the 8(a) program is extended by 18 months.
Accountability in Contracting Act
In response to the massive waste, fraud and abuse in Katrina-related contracts, requires federal agencies to minimize the use of “no-bid” contracts and promote the use of cost-effective fixed-price contracts.
Federal Housing Finance Reform/Affordable Housing Fund
Creates a non-taxpayer financed Affordable Housing Fund, which during the first five years will go towards the construction of affordable housing in areas still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.