Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Me or your lying eyes" Dept.

As Congress gets ready next week to vote on expanding the tax cuts for the wealthy, we need to keep in mind what the price of these cuts will be. Even though Bush has been widely (and rightly) excoriated for not making his budget cuts equal to his tax cuts, it's not exactly true that the Bushes haven't cut anything along the way. One thing they were quite eager to cut, apparently, was funding to the Army Corps of Engineers to shore up the Lake Pontchartrain levees.

On this subject, the New Orleans City Business journal had some choice details back in June:

In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said....

The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006....

It's now up to the Senate. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, is making no promises.

"It's going to be very tough, Landrieu said. "The House was not able to add back this money ... but hopefully we can rally in the Senate and get some of this money back."

Landrieu said the Bush administration is not making Corps of Engineers funding a priority.

"I think it's extremely shortsighted," Landrieu said. "When the Corps of Engineers' budget is cut, Louisiana bleeds. These projects are literally life-and-death projects to the people of south Louisiana and they are (of) vital economic interest to the entire nation."

Landrieu had it exactly right. Bush, on the other hand, this morning claimed that, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

Hat tip: CM.

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