Republican Sen. Tom Coburn Blocks Aid to Haiti

The government reneges on promise to help Haiti.

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The Associated Press is reporting that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is the reason that "not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived" to Haitians who are in dire need of the aid. You may recall that both the House and the Senate passed a bill that would make $917 million available for Haiti reconstruction aid. However, Congress must also pass an authorization bill that directs exactly how the money will be spent, which the Senate has failed to do. After the AP contacted many members of Congress, the fingers all pointed to Coburn. Coburn spokeswoman Becky Berhardt explained that the reason Coburn is holding up the bill is that he objects to the creation of a senior Haiti coordinator, who would cost $5 million over five years, when the United States currently has an ambassador to the country. Hmmm. Does the current ambassador have the qualifications and expertise to oversee $1.15 billion and the reconstruction of a country? We saw what Michael Brown did with Hurricane Katrina. Does Coburn want a repeat of that debacle in Haiti? It appears that Coburn doesn't want anything in Haiti, including the aid that the country desperately needs. Thumbs down to Coburn for warped logic and for being shady about pulling the bill for "further research," which he did anonymously. Thumbs down to Congress for not pressing the issue and putting the bill back on the table. By the way, what's up with Congress making promises that it has no intention of keeping?

Read more at Thinkprogress.org.

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