Two key U.S. senators will open a bipartisan investigation into what they described as an “immense failure” of the government response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), who heads the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), the panel’s top Democrat, said they plan to begin an oversight investigation Wednesday.
“We intend to demand answers as to how this immense failure occurred, but our immediate focus must and will be on what Congress can do to help the rescue and emergency operations that are ongoing,” the senators said in a joint Sept. 2 statement.
“It is also our responsibility to investigate the lack of preparedness and inadequate response to this terrible storm,” they said. “(I)t is increasingly clear that serious shortcomings in preparedness and response have hampered relief efforts at a critical time.”
The Senators have scheduled an initial briefing by Department of Homeland Security officials for Committee Members and Senators from affected states on Sept. 7. The briefing will be closed to the media, but the Senators will schedule a press availability after the briefing.
The statment came after Bush faced blistering criticism for his administration’s response to Katrina.
“This is a national disgrace,” Terry Ebbert, head of New Orleans’ emergency operations, told MSNBC. “We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims but we can’t bail out the city of New Orleans.”
Bush, who has been criticized for a slow response to the disaster, admitted yesterday morning that “the results are not acceptable” and pledged to bolster relief efforts.
“We’ll get on top of this situation,” Bush said, “and we’re going to help the people that need help.”
This article first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.