Blue Dog or no Blue Dog, Congressman Charlie Melancon says he supports the Senate version of the emergency supplemental bill. Melancon is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 47 moderate to- conservative congressional Democrats who are concerned with balancing the federal budget.
A recent AP story stated that the group was in favor of cutting $73 million from the emergency supplemental bill, which is to be used for housing vouchers for disabled, homeless residents in the Gulf Coast. Melancon disputes this and says the majority of his fellow Blue Dogs are in favor of the voucher program.
"Most of the Blue Dogs support rebuilding New Orleans under the supplemental bill," Melancon says.
There are two versions a Senate bill and a House bill of the $212 billion emergency supplemental bill, which primarily funds the war in Iraq. Both bills contain $5.8 billion in hurricane protection for the New Orleans area, but the Senate version includes items the House doesnt allow for including:
Another big difference between the two bills is that the Senate version allows the state to pay its share ($1.3 billion in the Senate bill) over the course of 30 years while the House version expects the states cost-share payment ($1.5 billion in the House bill) in just three years.
The House is expected to vote on the Senate bill sometime next week.
In case youd like to let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (www.house.gov/pelosi) know how you feel about these two competing bills, you could always call her: 1-202-225-4965.