SOTU: Bush Has Neglected Hurricane Reconstruction

Bush said: “Tonight the armies of compassion continue the march to a new day in the Gulf Coast. America honors the strength and resilience of the people of this region. We reaffirm our pledge to help them build stronger and better than before. And tonight I am pleased to announce that in April we will host this year’s North American Summit of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in the great city of New Orleans.”

FACT — KATRINA HAS SLIPPED FROM BUSH’S RADAR: In the 2007 State of the Union, there wasn’t a single mention of Hurricane Katrina or the ongoing Gulf Coast reconstruction effort. [SOTU, 1/23/07]

FACT — GULF COAST STILL STRUGGLING TO RECOVER: “Almost 40% of the people displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina” lived “below the poverty line last year,” according to a Census Bureau survey. The survey also found that “nearly a third of those who fled the hurricane could not find jobs last year, and thousands more weren’t trying.” [USA Today, 10/8/07]

FACT — BUSH HAS SHORTCHANGED SCHOOL RECONSTRUCTION: The estimated cost of hurricane-related destruction in K-12 and higher education in Mississippi and Louisiana is $6.2 billion,” but “the federal government has provided only $1.2 billion.” Foreign governments contributed $131.5 million to recovery funding for Louisiana colleges, slightly less than the $135 million contributed by the U.S. government. [Southern Education Foundation, 8/29/06]