After visiting flood-ravaged Louisiana as a presidential candidate in 2016, Donald Trump promised unwavering support for the recovery.
“We mourn for the lives lost, and we pledge our help, comfort and support to every last person in need,” said Trump, who had toured the devastation with running mate Mike Pence. “To the people of Louisiana: We are with you, and we will always be with you.”
What a difference three years makes. Trump is president now, and many residents affected by Louisiana’s 2016 flooding are having to fight with the government Trump leads to get the assistance they need to rebuild.
That’s an ironic outcome from a president who entered office pledging to cut red tape and make government more accountable to the citizens it’s supposed to serve.
At issue is the so-called “duplication of benefits” trap that’s blocking aid to Louisiana residents still trying to rebuild. Flood victims who applied for rebuilding loans from the Small Business Administration have been blocked from receiving recovery grants — even if they never accessed the loans.
Legislation pushed through Congress by members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation and signed into law by Trump was supposed to correct the problem. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is in charge of providing the legal guidance needed to implement the change, has been dragging its heels.
Three years after a natural disaster that devastated thousands of homes, Louisianans are having to fight their own government for relief. One Denham Springs couple has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to break the logjam.
Louisiana’s Republican U.S. senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, recently met with HUD Secretary Ben Carson to discuss the delay. The senators said Carson made a commitment to solve the problem. U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, a Baton Rouge Republican, has also been trying to promote a solution.
Louisiana voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in the 2016 election. In doing so, they were promised a can-do government that delivered results, not excuses.
We urge the president to make good on that pledge by resolving a bureaucratic quagmire that’s prolonged the suffering of an estimated 6,000 Louisiana flood victims and their families affected by the duplication of benefits issue.
These residents acted in good faith to partner with their government in getting back on their feet. It’s past time for the federal government to act in good faith, too.
We remember Donald Trump’s commitment to always be with us. So should he.