WASHINGTON – Survivors of Hurricane Katrina, sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future, visited Capitol Hill today to warn senators and representatives against using hurricane relief efforts as an excuse to slash funding for social protections Gulf Coast residents desperately need. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with the hurricane survivors to discuss how Republican budget cuts will hurt Gulf Coast citizens, calling on Congress to work on solutions to provide immediate relief to them.
“Republicans talk a good game about helping victims, but when it comes time for meaningful action, they are nowhere to be found,” said Sen. Reid. “At a time when hundreds of thousands of families are in need, Republicans want to cut health care, housing and other assistance, so they can spend more on tax breaks for a wealthy few.”
“It is a cruel hoax on the victims of Katrina to use their plight to promote a budget that doesn’t address their needs, that increases the deficit and gives tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country,” said Rep. Pelosi. “Republicans are asking the poorest children in America, who depend on Medicaid for health care, to pay for the care for the children of Katrina. It’s simply not fair.”
The Democratic leaders met with a group of Hurricane Katrina survivors who shared their stories about how the recovery is progressing on the ground in the Gulf Coast and what help and assistance they still have not received.
Dian Palmer of New Orleans spoke about how she organized a team of nurses to volunteer in the Gulf Coast and care for those in need. She witnessed closed hospitals and a desperate need for Medicaid funds and care.
Vincent Wilson spoke about how the people of New Orleans want to lift themselves up and rebuild their lives, but local contractors are still struggling to find work because contracts are being awarded with no-bids to firms with ties to the Bush administration.
“I lost my job and the benefits that come with it, and when I applied to get help, I was rejected. Turned down. Refused,” said another survivor, Michele Baker of New Orleans. “After a Category 5 hurricane, Washington unleashed a Category 5 assault on working families.”
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