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Eckels Testifies on Capitol Hill

Harris County Judge Robert Eckels testified before a Senate Committee today. He asked for federal money to reimburse Harris County for its generosity to Katrina evacuees. He also had praise for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Eckels says he’s satisfied with the immediate federal assistance for Medicaid and Medicare post Katrina. But he says Harris […]

Harris County Judge Robert Eckels testified before a Senate Committee today. He asked for federal money to reimburse Harris County for its generosity to Katrina evacuees. He also had praise for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Eckels says he’s satisfied with the immediate federal assistance for Medicaid and Medicare post Katrina. But he says Harris County is working like a contractor for the Federal Government by providing services to evacuees, except without pay.

Despite a constant hailstorm of complaints about FEMA on Capitol Hill, Eckels sounded a positive note saying his prior relationship with FEMA staff before Katrina was instrumental. Eckels explained Houston’s development of an emergency plan in 1995 made evacuee assistance easier.

In contrast, local officials from Baton Rouge, Mississippi and Arkansas complained of failed emergency communications and little or no contact from FEMA. For Houston Public Radio, I’m Laura Strickler on Capitol Hill.

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