WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA) was in Washington Friday, calling on lawmakers and federal officials to help in the flooding recovery process. The Governor says he’s grateful for FEMA's response, but also says it hasn't been perfect.
"I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today to serve as a voice for the incredible people of Louisiana," said Edwards to begin his testimony in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee. "The storm didn’t have a name, but every person it affected does."
The Governor testified for almost three hours. He addressed his state’s needs and the response from the FEMA.
"We can always do better. I can always do better," said Edwards. "There are some things that I’ve identified that I think FEMA really needs to work on."
The Governor says, specifically, the agency needs to speed up the building of manufactured housing units. He also says generally there are too many hoops and hurdles for FEMA to maximize effectiveness.
"We have to identify which of those are within the discretion of FEMA to fix, and which ones are imposed by statutory limitations that only Congress can fix," said Edwards.
Analyzing FEMA’s efforts was just one reason for the Governor’s trip to Capitol Hill. He is also appealing for $2 billion in additional funding.
"All of the Congressmen with whom I’ve had any communications after the storm, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats...they want to be helpful," said Edwards.
One of those lawmakers trying to help is Congressman Ralph Abraham (R-LA).
"We as Congress have got to come up with a package," said Abraham. "A solution to at least help those people who are living in those homes, and those businesses, who can’t open their doors, to start to crawl back to a civil life."
Abraham is optimistic Congress will act. Meanwhile, Governor Edwards says he’ll return to Capitol Hill next week to continue his efforts.