FEMA wants $300-million in aid back

Published February 7, 2007

NEW ORLEANS - The Federal Emergency Management Administration has determined nearly 70,000 Louisiana households improperly received $309.1-million in grants, and officials acknowledge those numbers are likely to grow.

In the chaotic period after two deadly hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005, federal officials scrambled to provide help in hard-hit areas.

But an Associated Press analysis of government data obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act suggests the government might not have been careful enough with its checkbook as it gave out nearly $5.3-billion in aid to storm victims. The analysis found the government regularly gave money to more homes in some neighborhoods than the number of homes that actually existed.


Pelosi, Dingell resolve battle on climate issue

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to a compromise that ends a three-week turf battle with one of her most powerful and senior committee chairmen over a special panel on climate change.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the most senior member of the House, had objected to creation of the select committee that Pelosi said would put added focus on the need to deal with global warming.

Under the agreement, the new committee - to be chaired by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. - will hold hearings and recommend legislation, but will have no authority to approve legislation. It also would expire at the end of this Congress.


Rangel weighs minimum wage deal

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House tax writing committee said Tuesday he would be willing to link tax breaks for small business to a hike in the minimum wage but that the $8-billion tax package adopted by the Senate was unacceptable.

The comments by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, were the first acknowledgment by a top House Democrat that tax cuts might be necessary to win approval of an increase in the federal wage floor.

"I'm prepared to send something over there for (the Senate) to be able to attach a tax package," Rangel said.