|04-26-2006, 09:28 PM||#1|
She's once, twice, three times a headbanger.
Join Date: Jan 2006
Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA
Apologies if my link doesn't work, it's late and both I and my computer are feeling cranky. :romy:
Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
39 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The nation's beleaguered disaster response agency should be abolished and rebuilt from scratch to avoid a repeat of multiple government failures exposed by Hurricane Katrina, a Senate inquiry has concluded.
Crippled by years of poor leadership and inadequate funding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot be fixed, a bipartisan investigation says in recommendations to be released Thursday.
Taken together, the 86 proposed reforms charge the United States is still woefully unprepared for a disaster such as Katrina with the start of the hurricane season a little more than month away.
"The United States was, and is, ill-prepared to respond to a catastrophic event of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina," the recommendations warn. "Catastrophic events are, by their nature, difficult to imagine and to adequately plan for, and the existing plans and training proved inadequate in Katrina."
The recommendations, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, are the product of a seven-month investigation detailed in a Senate report to be released next week. It follows similar inquiries by the House and White House and comes in an election year in which Democrats have seized on Katrina to attack the Bush administration.
President Bush will visit Louisiana and Mississippi — which bore the brunt of Katrina's wrath — on Thursday.
Katrina, which hit last Aug. 29, was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The storm and its aftershocks killed more than 1,300 people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage.
The Senate report urges yet another overhaul of the embattled Homeland Security Department — FEMA's parent agency — which was created three years ago and already has undergone major restructuring of duties.
It chiefly calls for a new agency, called the National Preparedness and Response Authority, to plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters. Unlike now, the authority would communicate directly with the president during major crises, and any dramatic cuts to budget or staffing levels would have to be approved by Congress. But it would remain within Homeland Security to continue receiving resources provided by the larger department.
The proposal drew disdain from Homeland Security and its critics, both sides questioning the need for another bureaucratic shuffling that they said wouldn't accomplish much.
"It's time to stop playing around with the organizational charts and to start focusing on government, at all levels, that are preparing for this storm season," said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.
Former FEMA director Michael Brown said the new agency would basically have the same mission FEMA had a year ago, before its disaster planning responsibilities were taken away to focus solely on responding to calls for help.
"It sounds like they're just re-creating the wheel and making it look like they're calling for change," Brown said. "If indeed that's all they're doing, they owe more than that to the American public."
But Sen. Susan Collins (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, who led the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee inquiry, said the new agency would be "better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster."
Describing FEMA as a "shambles and beyond repair," she said the reforms "will help ensure that we do not have a repeat of the failures following Hurricane Katrina."
Written in matter-of-fact terms, the recommendations do not place blame on any official or government agency. But a spokeswoman for Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the Senate panel, said he will file "additional views" to the report accusing Bush of failing "to provide critical leadership when it was most needed."
"That contributed to a grossly ineffective federal response to Hurricane Katrina," Lieberman said in a statement.
The House report, issued in February, similarly criticized Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FEMA's Brown for moving too slowly to trigger federal relief. The White House report, which came a week later, took a softer tone and singled out the Homeland Security Department for most of the breakdowns.
Many of the rest of the Senate recommendations were far less dramatic, ranging from creating a Homeland Security Academy to encouraging plans to evacuate and shelter pets during a disaster.
Without specifying where the money would come from or how much was needed, the recommendations call for more funding for disaster planning and response at all levels of government. They also urge clarifying levee maintenance responsibilities — a concern because of structural weaknesses of the New Orleans' flood walls that spawned deadly floods after Katrina hit_ and suggested better contracting procedures to avoid waste or fraud in the rush to get aid to disaster victims.
The Senate plans were issued as Congress' investigative arm predicted FEMA is destined to repeat million-dollar mistakes of disaster aid waste and fraud unless it quickly can establish controls for verifying names and addresses.
Gregory Kutz, managing director of special investigations for the Government Accountability Office, said he has little confidence that FEMA will be ready by June 1 start of the hurricane season to safeguard taxpayer dollars should a disaster like Katrina strike again.
A FEMA spokesman said agency officials are working hard to improve and tighten controls in its disaster aid program.
"I was all for having the 2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago, until we got a D- in Disaster Preparedness. If we can't take care of our own residents, we don't deserve to have the cream of the athletic world here." - RK
|04-27-2006, 08:07 AM||#2|
Shaken and Stirred
Join Date: Jan 2006
What many people don't realise is that FEMA has the ability to override the government and assume de facto control of said ogvernment in times of crisis. If the crisis is large enough, FEMA can invoke emergency military and legislative powers that will effectively allow it to run both the military and the legislature...frightening to consider...and hardly anyone knows about it.
Yes, I am a conspiracy theorist...
|04-27-2006, 03:59 PM||#4|
Returned from a black hole
|04-27-2006, 04:07 PM||#5|
Too busy getting some to watch sports..
Join Date: Jan 2006
And then to top it all off, we found out some time last year that there was a shadow government plan in place to essentially install a military dictatorship with the president as some sort of modern day Caesar in the event that a WMD incapacitated the government.