Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday assured listeners of his monthly call-in radio show that he remains optimistic about the potential for Louisiana to secure federal aid for the ongoing flood recovery efforts.
Edwards headed back to Washington, D.C. later Wednesday for his third time lobbying for federal flood relief.
Republicans and Democrats have not reached a deal on a stop-gap spending plan that would keep the federal government operating past Sept. 30. The short-term funding bill, formally known as a continuing resolution, has been identified as the fastest way to get flood money for the state before Congress recesses this month. Lawmakers won't return to D.C. until December, after this fall's elections.
"We have been well received and I sense there is support for giving us timely and meaningful assistance," Edwards said on his radio show.
Despite the fact that no continuing resolution deal has been hatched and more lawmakers have begun expressing skepticism of Louisiana's chances of securing funding this round, Edwards said he's confident that the state will get a "sizable down payment" in the continuing resolution and more money during the December "lame duck" session.
Leaders of the U.S. Senate and Congress continue to try to work funding for Louisiana's floo…
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, on Wednesday morning acknowledged that negotiations were still underway over what the stop-gap budget legislation will include.
"We do support flood aid to the victims in Louisiana," Ryan said during the House GOP leadership's morning news conference.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, told The Advocate on Tuesday that he believes that efforts to link Louisiana flood aid to funding for the Flint, Michigan, water crisis has emerged as a sticking point in negotiations.
During the rest of his call-in show, Edwards fielded questions from callers about climate change, education funding, flood aid for shrimpers and law enforcement's use of deadly force.
On climate change, in light of the catastrophic flooding this year (in north Louisiana this spring and south Louisiana last month), Edwards said he thinks that the human impact on global warming is "somewhat debatable."
"I don't argue with science. I don't think there is any doubt that the climate is changing," said Edwards, a Democrat. "I don't know that I'm prepared to go beyond that at the moment."
A caller who identified himself as Ricky from Lake Charles said he is a shrimper who is worried about the effect that the flood may have on the state's seafood industry.
Edwards said he 's aware that some experts are concerned that fresh water flowing into the brackish water could have an effect. He said that the Louisiana coalition has been stressing the floods impact on the agriculture sector.
"I'm not sure that's going to be in the initial package. we are going to continue to work on it," he said.
A caller identified as Anna from the governor's hometown of Amite, asked for his thoughts on the use of deadly force in law enforcement following high-profile cases across the country, including the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.
Edwards said "there's no doubt" that there is a problem.
"Everybody can do better," he said, adding that he supports better law enforcement training as well as efforts to train people with how to deal with police officers – possibly as teens or children.
"The shame of it is there are many reasons to believe the application of lethal force by police officers not at an all-time high," he said. "The difference is that today many of these things are caught on camera ... Because all of this is being captured on camera, the issue is at the front of everybody's – it's on TV, it's on the internet – you see it."