Baker Statement on Unsuccessful Effort to Win Passage of LRC

On December 19th, U.S. Rep. Richard H. Baker, R-Baton Rouge, sponsor of H.R. 4100 issued a statement following his unsuccessful effort to gain passage this year of the aforementioned legislation.

Baker Statement on Unsuccessful Effort to Win Passage of LRC Monday, December 19, 2005

The News from Congressman Richard H. Baker
Sixth District, Louisiana
December 19, 2005

Baker statement on unsuccessful effort to win passage of LRC

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Richard H. Baker, R-Baton Rouge, issued the following statement today following his unsuccessful effort to gain passage this year of legislation (H.R. 4100) to establish the Louisiana Recovery Corporation (LRC), a federal agency with the proposed mission to provide financial stability to property owners through the purchase of damaged or destroyed property from willing sellers, and to facilitate the redevelopment of areas of Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita:

“It is in the time of difficulty that we are most tested. When our belief that tomorrow will be better than today is badly shaken, it is imperative we do not give up on ourselves. No matter the circumstances, we must try again. We must continue to pursue that which is possible and never give in to hopelessness.

“I know that many Louisianians were hopeful that the Louisiana Recovery Corporation would be created by the Congress, which would have provided a systematic method to begin the long recovery. I want all my Louisiana friends to know that down to the very last minute I did everything I could to make it happen, but I did not succeed.

“It is now apparent that I will have to return to Congress next year and start over. God willing, that is what I will do. Although disappointed, I will not give up.

“I have every assurance from Senator Shelby, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, that he will assign every resource to assess our plan and develop an appropriate solution. I have every confidence that the Administration will bring their expertise to bear on the problem.

“I should also make clear that every single member of the House and Senate from Louisiana was focused, motivated, and dedicated to the goal of passing H.R. 4100. The Governor and members of her Louisiana Recovery Authority, as well, provided tremendous effort and assistance. Mayor Nagin and his consultants at ULI, State Senator Schedler, State Rep. LaFonta, Councilman Batt, and other state and local officials added instrumental advice and support. Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Michael Oxley, and ranking member, Barney Frank, were incredibly helpful and supportive. In fact, from Louisiana to Washington, Republican and Democrat, conservative to liberal, many, many people joined together in support of the plan, and I am grateful to them all. There was broad support for taking action, but the time available was simply too short for the necessary steps to be taken.

“To displaced homeowners, without a home, trying to figure out what the future holds, I want to assure you of the steps I intend to take, and of the time now required to implement the new solution.

“First, in my capacity as Chairman of the Capital Markets subcommittee, I will seek to obtain a commitment from the appropriate Congressional leaders to push for the maximum forbearance from financial regulators. This action is to ensure that you have the longest possible period to be relieved from paying your mortgage obligation.

“Second, I will return to Washington to meet with members of the Senate to develop a new plan, in January, before regular business resumes. Most members of the House have already expressed support for the provisions of H.R. 4100, so obtaining Senate approval early next year is critical.

“Third, I will request that local leaders utilize the resources of the Louisiana Recovery Authority in order to develop and finalize a local plan for redevelopment. This is an essential step, which would have been required even if H.R. 4100 had passed. The LRC would redevelop only after local communities developed the local plans. We should proceed as if the bill has passed, so when resources are made available, they can be deployed immediately.

“Fourth, I will request of the Governor that she designate funds to the Louisiana Recovery Authority sufficient to insure the preparation of the recovery plan. These resources should assist communities that otherwise would be unable to successfully create their redevelopment plan. This assistance should be made available from funds given to Louisiana in the most recent supplemental appropriation.

“Finally, I have little doubt that H.R. 4100, or something similar, will ultimately be adopted by the Congress. However, it will not be achieved easily and will not come without significant hard work. In fact, the Administration has made it clear that Louisiana must speak with one voice on any major plan for redevelopment. Every parish governing authority, every city council, all homeowner groups and community leaders should write their own statement of support for the principles of H.R. 4100. All of the authorities or commissions that have been created since the storms should also adopt resolutions of support. This is essential in convincing the Congress and the Administration to act.

“The steps I have indicated that I will take would have had to be taken no matter what plan is adopted. So let’s get on with the work. For my part, I know I have to work harder. Perhaps there is a better plan to be found. But what I want the Louisiana people to understand, from me to you, is that I will not give up. And I hope you will not give up on Louisiana.

“My prayers go out to Louisiana and her citizens, though I also pray that next year we will find greater reason to celebrate the holidays.”

To view the online release please click on the following link.

Baker Statement on Unsuccessful Effort to Win Passage of LRC

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