Dan Harsha, Gov't Relations/Communications Director, Harvard Ash Center
Governor Barbour,
While FEMA's immediate response to Katrina was widely lambested (fairly or unfairly so), in the aftermath of the storm, there was broad political consensus at the time that significant federal disaster recovery dollars would be needed to restore the battered Gulf Coast. If a similar storm happened today in our more toxic political climate, do you think we would see the same level on consensus? Would voices in Congress demand politically unpalatable offsets to pass a theoretical multi-billion recovery package as was proposed by some after Hurrican Sandy?
The experience with Sandy makes me think Congress would overwhelmingly support large, special emergency funding with another negotiation. The political environment was as “toxic” then as now, with a divided government and a polarizing president.
Remember in 2005, after Katrina, as well as in early 2012, there was considerable though unsuccessful support for offsets.
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