Democrats Condemn Chertoff's Incompetence
News; Posted on: 2005-09-15 17:51:14
Dems rebuke Chertoff for delays; Senators decry 3-day response gap after an emergency was first declared
[Ed: The Democrats did nothing to stop Chertoff's appointment. Unlike the normally fractious confirmation hearings for non-ADL-linked nominees, Chertoff's hearings were marked by nauseating, flippant bipartsian banter. Chertoff was approved 98-0 in the Senate after his rival, popular former NY Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, was mysteriously found to have skeletons in his closet. Now is the chance for Democrats and Republicans alike to make up for their serious error in helping to seat the incompetent Michael Chertoff.]
by Lara Jakes Jordan
Senate Democrats scolded the nation's security chief on Wednesday for failing to take advantage of a national emergency response plan and sending massive federal aid to the Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina hit.
Democrats said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff delayed declaring Katrina an "incident of national significance" — a designation that would have triggered a quick and massive federal response — until a day after the hurricane hit, even though weather forecasts predicted the storm would cause widespread destruction.
A Chertoff spokesman denied the charge, pointing to millions of ready-made meals, thousands of blankets and dozens of federal rescue teams sent to the region as the hurricane approached.
Homeland Security "should have acted faster, based on the rules and regulations that they're committed to," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
He was referring to the National Response Plan, issued by the department in January, which allows federal assistance before a disaster strikes. The plan states that a federal response "can be partially or fully implemented in the context of a threat, anticipation of a significant event, or the response to a significant event."
The plan generally requires the federal government to react to emergencies that exceed state and local capabilities.
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