Thursday night in Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA President George W. Bush addressed the nation discussing hurricane relief and his commitment to rebuilding the city.
Bush, who has been under heavy public scrutiny for his administration’s slow response to hurricane relief, stated that Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency especially four years after September 11th.
“When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I, as President, am responsible for the problem, and for the solution,” said Bush.
People across the world have seen the images of ”-Americans on television calling out for food and water, vulnerable people left at the mercy of criminals who had no sympathy and, the bodies of the dead lying uncovered and untended in the street,” Bush said. In his address he explained how he plans to rectify the damages of hurricane Katrina and the poor government response.
Bush listed three hurricane relief commitments:
1) To provide $60 billion to rebuild, which Congress has already provided.
2) To help the citizens of the GulfCoast put their lives back together and rebuild their communities.
3) To rebuild communities even better and stronger than before.
He also proposed the creation of worker recovery accounts in which the federal government will provide up to $5,000 to help evacuees who need help finding work, job training, education and child care expense during their search for a job.
The Gulf Opportunity Zone proposal, which encompasses the region of the disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama, offers incentives for companies that create jobs, tax relief for small businesses, and loans that guarantee small businesses-including minority-owned businesses.
Other proposals, available on MSNBC.com, according to congressional officials briefed by the White House, include:
Ã˜ A 100 percent reimbursement to states to cover their costs of health care for treating many evacuees through the end of next year.
Ã˜ $1.9 billion to reimburse states for educating displaced students, including some money that could go to religious schools.
Ã˜ Six-month forgiveness on student loan interest for affected areas, at an estimated cost of $100 million.
For lower-income citizens in the hurricane region, Bush proposed that Congress pass an Urban Homesteading Act to identify property in the region owned by the federal government, and provide building sites to low-income citizens free of charge Through a lottery, however, they would pledge to build on the lot, with either a mortgage or help from a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity.
Bush concluded his address by likening the rebuilding to the New Orleans custom for funerals of jazz musicians.
He said "the funeral procession parades slowly through the streets, followed by a band playing a mournful dirge as it moves to the cemetery. Once the casket has been laid in place, the band breaks into a joyful second lin symbolizing the triumph of the spirit over death. The Gulf Coast is still coming through the dirge yet we will live to see the second line."
Hurricane evacuees and the rest of America will be anticipating the second line and it will be in this wait where the public will see if President Bush will remain faithful to his promises and proposals.