Thompson pans state’s use of Katrina-recovery funds

Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Congress should “put some constraints” on future disaster aid “because of the demonstrated poor use of the funds.”

He also criticized state attempts to use Katrina reconstruction money to free up funds for nonemergency purposes, including funds road construction near a future Toyota plant and raises for state judges.

Barbour’s office did not return calls Wednesday.

Katrina damaged or destroyed almost 2,700 public housing units in Mississippi. The state has set aside about $105 million in federal housing grants for new housing.

Thompson and other lawmakers also questioned whether the Bush administration is prepared to house victims of this year’s hurricane season.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has missed a congressional deadline to submit a national disaster housing strategy by nearly a year.

“We cannot develop solutions without this strategy,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. “A year’s delay just seems too long.”

Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., said the delay is “an embarrassment.”

Clarion Ledger
6/4/8