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Obama Reaction to White House Report on Hurricane Katrina

Location: Washington, DC

Obama Reaction to White House Report on Hurricane Katrina
Thursday, February 23, 2006

WASHINGTON-Senator Barack Obama Thursday reacted to the release of the White House's "Lessons Learned" report on Hurricane Katrina. The report, authored by Frances Fragos Townsend included a number of recommendations to improve federal responses to major catastrophes.

"The White House is finally acknowledging just how delinquent its response to Hurricane Katrina really was. Two of the top recommendations in Townsend's report are based on ideas we have been working on in the Congress for many months.

"A week after Katrina made landfall, I introduced a bill to help manage and direct volunteer medical personnel to care for the sick and wounded after a catastrophe. The legislation would create a national emergency health professional volunteer corps, so that the nation would have a ready pool of volunteer doctors and nurses who have already been trained and certified to serve in times of disaster. Six months later, the White House has finally acknowledged that our emergency medical system can be easily overwhelmed and needs to be revamped.

"Last September, I introduced a bill that would make sure evacuation plans focus on low-income families, the elderly, the homeless, and the disabled. Six months later, the White House has finally embraced the recommendation in its report.

"The time for delay is over. It is time to take these recommendations and put them into practice so that we are ready for any disaster that may strike and so that our government never repeats its sad performance of six months ago."

The two bills introduced by Sen. Obama are S. 1638 and S. 1685.

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