Republican lawmakers criticized Governor John Bel Edwards’ handling of the deadly August flood during a Congressional hearing in Washington D.C. today. The chairman of the panel, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, couldn’t believe the governor didn’t know how many people were still displaced.
“Governor, you know how bad that looks, right? I mean, you’re coming here for a hearing about this, you don’t even have a guess as to how many people are displaced?” says Chaffetz. “I do not,” Edwards says. “You’re that clueless?” said Chaffetz. “I’m not that clueless,” said Edwards.
The legislators also questioned Edwards over the complaints regarding the Shelter at Home Program and the quality of work that was done to help flood victims get back into their homes. Edwards says he gives his administration a grade of B-plus for handling the flood recovery. But Michigan Congressman Paul Mitchell disagrees.
“With all do respect, sir, I suggest you reconsider the grade of B+ because, in my view of this, the Shelter at Home Program reflects a lot of failures and I wouldn’t grade it a B+.”
South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice questioned the Governors’ handling of the storm before it started flooding.
“The National Weather Service was predicting this was going to be a storm damage of which the floods would go beyond that of 1983, why would you not call an evacuation?” Rice said. “Yeah, I’m not sure the National Weather Service said that in advance.” Edwards said.
Chaffetz also criticized the state for how it has handled the 1.6 billion dollars that Congress has appropriated to help flood victims.
“Reports indicate that the state bungled the initial award and then restarted the process two weeks ago. It’s April 2017, this happened in August and they just restarted the process.”
Edwards says they have done all they can do to move the process as quick as possible and they are still waiting for the federal government to make the money available so the state can use it.