When the president vetoed the WRDA bill on Nov. 2, both legislative chambers vowed to push through the domestic spending bill for water projects. The first veto override of Bush's presidency was passed by a comfortable margin. Contained in a $459.3 billion defense bill that cleared both the House and Senate was $2 billion in defense spending for Louisiana, and with a late insert by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, $3 billion to bail out the state's floundering Road Home.
"This is a great victory for Louisiana's recovery," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said after the House but before the Senate passed the legislation. "Today's House vote sends a message to homeowners still struggling to rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita that Congress is committed to fulfilling the federal promise to Gulf Coast residents. But this is only one step towards filling the Road Home shortfall ' the Senate will consider the matter next, and I urge them and President Bush to support this critical funding to prevent the Road Home from running short."
Gov.-elect and U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal was in Washington for both votes. "This is a huge step," he told The Advocate. "The government has made promises to these families, and they need to keep these promises." ... VITTER'S HUSTLER NIGHTMARE No one is happier right now about the TV writers' strike than U.S. Sen. David Vitter. With late-night comics like Jay Leno and David Letterman shutting down production and airing reruns until the strike is resolved, Louisiana's junior senator is getting a temporary reprieve from being the butt of jokes for his latest return to the headlines. Hustler magazine's new issue features an explicit pictorial of Wendy Ellis, the former New Orleans prostitute who alleges Vitter regularly visited her for services in 1999. Ellis also recounts graphic details of the encounters, down to the smallest of details.
The Hustler issue hit newsstands a week after the news that Vitter could be subpoenaed by the D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey to testify at a Nov. 28 hearing about his involvement with one of the madam's "escorts." Vitter's phone number appeared five times in the D.C. Madam's phone records between 1999 and 2001. ... LANDRIEU VOWS TO REFORM FEMA Nearly 50,000 residents in Louisiana and Texas are still living in temporary FEMA trailers that have formaldehyde, a carcinogen, in the flooring, cabinetry and wallboard. Last week, CBS News discovered, through internal e-mails, that the federal agency that still won't fully acknowledge its trailers pose a threat to residents' health has been warning its employees to stay out of the trailers.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu took the agency to task for the double-standard in a letter and chastised it for halting the CDC's testing. "Storm victims are suffering from the health effects of formaldehyde exposure while the agency, fully aware of the danger reflected in its own employee policy, is blocking public scrutiny of the extent of the carcinogen in these trailers," Landrieu wrote. "It turns out the agency has no idea what it would do with the information once it's compiled."
She continued, "These are more sad examples of the ineptitude by the broken agency. As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Disaster Recovery Subcommittee, I will use my jurisdiction over FEMA to press forward with the agency's reform. We need a swift, effective and smart agency with flexibility in its response ' not an agency that knowingly leaves American disaster victims exposed to a whole new nightmare from the walls of their FEMA-built temporary homes."
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Leslie Turk and Mary Tutwiler
The agency previously had said the program raked in more than the $200 million used to balance the budget, but hadn't given a final tally of what was collected and what still was available for spending.
The board is scheduled to vote Friday on proposals from Alleva to make 150 different changes to prices for tickets and parking across university sports events.
It took a unanimous vote of the Youngsville City Council this week to compel Mayor Wilson Viator to pay some $7,500 in bills to a host of vendors used by the city’s fire department, some of whom hadn’t been paid in months.
America is lost, says state Sen. Elbert Guillory, and that’s the reason he’ll be running for Lieutenant Gov. come 2015.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 13, 2013:
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.