WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a delegation of 15 House members to New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Aug. 12-14 to draw attention to the region just before the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Pelosi, D-Calif., who led a group of 29 House Democrats for last year's anniversary when her party was in the minority, is looking to contrast the Democrats' active response to hurricane victims with that of the Bush administration.
Although the trip is being labeled "bipartisan," it was unclear if any Republicans would be joining the speaker.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., who will be on trip, said that after last year's visit, "we set to work meeting with local officials, touring the region and determining the needs around infrastructure, education, health care, public safety and housing. We made a commitment to do better to help the Gulf Coast."
Hurricane Katrina hit the Crescent City and the Mississippi Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, destroying homes, schools and buildings, and displacing hundreds of thousands of residents. The initial lackluster response of Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to haunt the Bush administration, but officials say they've since gotten on track.
"We're grateful for the help we've gotten, but we've still got challenges," said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who lost his home in Katrina.
Taylor will hold a town meeting for constituents with the visiting members to push for his signature legislation -- multiple peril federal insurance. Taylor's bill would include wind damage as part of the federal flood insurance program in order to prevent the raging legal disputes policyholders are having with insurers over whether homes were destroyed by wind or water. The House is expected to consider the bill in September.
In Louisiana, the lawmakers will visit the Lower Ninth Ward, tour the St. Bernard Health Center, visit a New Orleans school and observe the city's levee system.