Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Bush visits hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast for progress report

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Six months after Hurricane Katrina hammered the Gulf Coast, President Bush returned Wednesday for a firsthand look at the slow-moving recovery and rebuilding efforts that have left many residents frustrated and angry.

The White House said the trip was not an attempt to make up for the criticism.

"The president made a very strong commitment, and we're following through on that commitment," spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Tuesday. "He has visited the Gulf Coast a number of times, as have a number of our Cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking officials in the administration, and we will continue to visit the Gulf Coast region."

The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama also are lobbying Congress for more money to pay for hurricane relief and rebuilding. Total hurricane-related spending on the region is approaching $100 billion.

In New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to meet a June 1 deadline — the start of the year's hurricane season — to rebuild the city's flood protection system so it is as good or better than it was before Katrina.

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