Bush is on a photo op tour as a part “of a series of events to showcase his priorities leading up to the State of the Union address.” Today’s stop was a visit to the “still-ravaged Gulf Coast Thursday after three months away.” Bush said today that he “was committed to rebuilding communities devastated from Hurricane Katrina.” But if that is the case, why has not been back there more often and what is taking so long for the economic action neccessary to rebuild the Gulf Coast? Bush’s visit today followed a meeting of angry residents in New Orleans over the proposed Katrina Recovery Plan.
John Kerry issued a statement today, saying that the Bush Administration is still delaying help for Gulf Coast Small Businesses:
“Rather than another round of photo ops, the President needs to deliver real help for the Gulf Coast and make his Republican Congress pass relief for small businesses devastated by the hurricanes. At every turn to provide real assistance, this administration has chosen to turn its back. Twice the administration scuttled the bipartisan Kerry-Snowe relief for small businesses devastated by the hurricanes, even though it passed the Senate 96 to 0. Of 352,000 applications the SBA has received after Hurricane Katrina, a mere 38,000 loans have been approved. Not one dime of the $62 billion President Bush requested for hurricane relief has been earmarked for immediate small business relief. That’s hardly a ‘heck of a job.’
“Getting the Gulf Coast’s economy back on track will mean getting small businesses and residents back on their feet. It’s long overdue that we help local economies rebuild, and help thousands people get the resources they need to put their lives back together.”
Hleping small businesses in the Gulf Coast get back on their feet is critical to the recovery of the Gulf Coast. Small Businesses are the backbone of the American economy. The Bush administration needs to step up to the plate and make this happen.