WASHINGTON – Gov. Kathleen Blanco was set to meet with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington Thursday after a talk with the leader of the Senate left her upbeat about getting more federal money for flood control in south Louisiana.
Blanco met Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She said later that the Nevada Democrat agreed to push a stalled water resources bill that authorizes hundreds of millions of dollars for Louisiana flood control and hurricane protection projects.
Blanco said Reid appeared willing to look into a federal insurance mechanism to help states like Louisiana that face large-scale insurance policy cancellations after a major disaster.
Blanco also met Wednesday members of the Democratic leadership team, James Clyburn, D-S.C., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., plus House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who heads the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the water resources bill.
On Thursday, the Democratic governor was set to meet with Pelosi; Donald Powell, White House Gulf Coast Recovery coordinator; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; and Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., chair of the Small Business Committee.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., accompanied Blanco for her Wednesday meetings with Reid and Baucus. One proposal they discussed with Reid would be for Congress to waive a 10 percent matching requirement for federal emergency assistance, as it has for other emergencies such in New York after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The 10 percent match takes money away from a huge backlog of infrastructure projects in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, Landrieu said, and it adds to the paperwork requirements by delaying release of housing recovery funds in the federally financed but state-administered Road Home program.