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Obama Refuses To Waive Stafford Act Post Hurricane Issac

Written By : William Teach
October 10, 2012

Obama has presided over what has been a very amount of natural disasters. There have been few monster tornado outbreaks, a few big floods, and just one hurricane (barely) to make landfall on the continental United States. And how does he treat it? Well, hypocritically, of course

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(Daily Caller) President Barack Obama has refused to extend to victims of Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana the same relief he criticized former President George W. Bush for withholding from New Orleans residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The move has frustrated state and local politicians and contradicts his own campaign rhetoric about disaster relief from just one election cycle ago.

In a fiery 2007 speech at Hampton University unveiled last week exclusively by The Daily Caller, Obama excoriated the Bush administration for supposedly refusing to waive requirements of the Stafford Act, which requires disaster victims to repay the federal government for emergency assistance, after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

“What’s happening down in New Orleans?” Obama shouted during the speech, which was recorded at the Virginia university in June of 2007. “Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act Money? Makes no sense! It tells me, the people down in New Orleans, they don’t care about as much!”

And let’s not forget that Obama himself voted against waiving the Stafford Act, just one of 14 Senators to do so, despite that fiery rhetoric.

According to Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, the president has responded to the August landfall of Hurricane Isaac, which devastated several parishes in Louisiana, by requiring local governments to provide the maximum allowable 25 percent matching funds to receive their federal aid, instead of the 10 percent match that served as the Bush administration’s guideline in the aftermath of Katrina.

“St. John the Baptist Parish was inundated by Isaac’s storm surge. President Obama visited the parish, held a press conference there and toured the devastation,” Jindal added. “Yet, he is still relying on this parish, and all other impacted parishes, to pick up 25 percent of the cost and refuses to make any adjustment allowed under the Stafford Act.”

I’m not going to get into the notion that the federal government shouldn’t be there to bail out everyone who experiences a natural disaster on the back of taxpayers around the country. But, this does highlight that what Obama preaches is often completely divorced from his actions and policy prescriptions.

And, just to be clear, Obama can’t waive the Stafford Act himself. That requires an act of Congress. But, the administration hasn’t asked for a vote on that for Isaac, and is pushing the maximum amount required. The Bush administration went out of their way to cover virtually all costs for the cleanup in New Orleans.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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