Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking the Trump administration to consider the impact that the Republican president's budget proposal could have on Louisiana's flood recovery efforts and projects that could prevent future natural disasters for the state.
"I would urge the administration to carefully consider how each of these proposed cuts in the budget blueprint will impact real citizens in potentially life-saving ways," Edwards wrote to the White House this week. "Our statewide recovery is dependent upon support of the federal government."
President Donald Trump unveiled his "budget blueprint" last week – a 53-page summary document that calls for the defunding of a program that has been used as a vehicle to fund disaster recovery efforts, as well as deep cuts to the Army Corps of Engineers that could threaten future projects in the state, including the Comite River diversion project.
"On more than one occasion, Louisiana – possibly more than any other state – has relied on the Corps to help us rebuild and keep our citizens safe," Edwards wrote to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, noting the significance of Hurricane Katrina and the August floods.
The "budget blueprint" that President Donald Trump's administration unveiled on Thursday cou…
In his letter, Edwards said he has "real concerns" about the administration's plans to zero out the Community Development Block Grant program in the future and asks for clarity on the impact that might have on disaster recovery.
Louisiana has already secured $1.6 billion, but the federal government hasn't yet released the funds to the state. Edwards is also seeking $2 billion in additional recovery funding, plus assistance with the long-stalled Comite Diversion project, which wasn't included in Obama's recommendations and was not funded in the earlier rounds.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was unclear about the administration's commitment to additional flood aid for the state on Wednesday. Asked by The Advocate via Skype during the daily White House briefing, Spicer didn't offer specifics about the administration's views on the role the federal government plays in long-term disaster recovery or where it stands on Louisiana's request for more aid.
"I think at this point the budget process has just kicked off, and we will now begin the process of working with Congress on – them draft a budget, and talk about our priorities and where they go forward," Spicer said. "The President will have a full budget out in May, and so that will be an appropriate time to do that."
Edwards and members of the state's Congressional delegation have been pushing for additional funding to come through the next stop-gap spending measure that is needed to fund government past April 28.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards had a seat at the table with President Donald Trump — litera…
Meanwhile, the state moved forward with plans for the $1.6 billion already secured after a setback last week. The state launched its second request for proposals on Wednesday. Proposals are due no later than April 7.
On Friday, the state scrapped its first evaluation of bids from firms, amid challenges against lodged against winner.
At stake is the lucrative contract to operate at least a $1.6 billion federally-funded recovery effort.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wants President Donald Trump's help in getting another $2 bi…
The firm that won in the earlier round, Innovative Emergency Management, Inc., would have been paid about $250 million. The second place bid was about $310 million.
IEM is challenging the state licensing board over its guidance that led to the redo. In its court documents, which asks a judge to weigh in on a state licensing board opinion that IEM didn't meet the state's requirements to be awarded the contract.
The firm says it has obtained all licensing needed to fulfill the program's requirements.
No action has been taken on the request for declaratory judgment, but the state went forward with the second bidding effort.
Each of the firms that submitted proposals previously will have an opportunity to resubmit.
The governor's office had said it hoped that the second round would help draw down costs and avoid potential litigation.
Louisiana leaders are voicing frustration with the federal bureaucracy tied to $1.6 billion …