2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 29, 2005
blocking health care
support for evacuees
WASHINGTON (AP) - With
Gulf Coast governors pressing for
action, Senate Finance Committee
members complained yesterday that
the Bush administration is blocking
a bipartisan $9 billion health care
package for hundreds of thousands
of evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina
"We've got people with needs
today," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen
Blanco said. She was joined by Mis-
sissippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Ala-
bama Gov. Bob Riley, who testified
via a teleconference hookup, in urg-
ing quick action on the legislation.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-lowa),
chairman of the committee, said four
or five senators have been block-
ing action on the bill after the Bush
administration raised objections to
provisions thfat would extend Medic-
aid coverage to thousands upon thou-
sands of adults who otherwise would
be uninsured, including those whose
applications have been rejected in
"We can work with everybody,
including the administration, or
against them, and I'm prepared to go
either way," said Sen. Trent Lott (R-
Miss.) "But I'm going to look after
our people first."
Administration officials contend
the Medicaid extensions are not
needed because a newly created fund
could be tapped whenever health care
providers care for uninsured victims
of Katrina between Aug. 24 and Jan.
The administration has not revealed
how much money will be in the fund,
and senators questioned both the
funding commitment and whether the
administration has the authority to
establish such a fund.
Earlier yesterday, Blanco asked the
committee for help in rebuilding her
devastated state, saying Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita "knocked us down
but they did not knock us out."
Indicted DeLay steps
down as majority leader
NEWS IN BRIEF
HADLINE FRMAONIH OL
U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) talks with reporters on Capitol Hill after
resigning as House Majority Leader following his indictment by a Texas
grand jury on conspiracy charges yesterday.
law, which prohibits the use of corpo-
rate donations to advocate the election
or defeat of political candidates. Pros-
ecutors say the alleged scheme worked
in a roundabout way, with the dona-
tions going to a DeLay-founded politi-
cal committee, then to the Republican
National Committee and eventually to
GOP candidates in Texas.
The indictment stems from a plan
DeLay helped set in motion in 2001
to help Republicans win control of the
Texas House in the 2002 elections for
the first time since Reconstruction.
Indicted with DeLay were two of
his associates, John Colyandro, former
executive director of a Texas political
action committee formed by DeLay,
and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's
national political committee.
The grand jury's foreman, William
Gibson, told The Associated Press that
Earle didn't pressure members one way
or the other. "Ronnie Earle didn't indict
him. The grand jury indicted him,"
Gibson told The Associated Press in an
interview at his home.
Gibson, 76, a retired sheriff's deputy
in Austin, said of DeLay: "He's prob-
ably doing a good job. I don't have
anything against him. Just something
The Texas Republican temporarily
stepped down from the No. 2 leader-
ship post that he had held since 2002,
as required by House rules.
Blunt said he was confident DeLay
would be cleared of the allegations and
return to his leadership job.
Criminal conspiracy is a state felony
punishable by six months to two years in
a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
At the White House, press secretary
Scott McClellan said the president still
considered DeLay - a fellow Texan
- a friend and an effective leader in
"Congressman DeLay is a good ally,
a leader who we have worked closely
with to get things done for the Ameri-
can people," McClellan said. "I think
the president's view is that we need to
let the legal process work."
The indictment puts the Republi-
cans - who control the White House,
Senate and House - on the defensive.'
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-
Tenn.) also is fending off questions of
ethical improprieties. And less than a
week ago, a former White House offi-
cial was arrested in the investigation
of Jack Abramoff, a high-powered
lobbyist and fundraiser.
FEMA was warned early of shortages
Former FEMA director Michael Brown was warned weeks before Hurricane
Katrina hit that his agency's backlogged computer systems could delay supplies
and put personnel at risk during an emergency, according to an audit released yes-
An internal review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's informa-
tion-sharing system shows it was overwhelmed during the 2004 hurricane season.
The audit was released a day after Brown vehemently defended FEMA for the
government's dismal response to Katrina, instead blaming state and local officials
for poor planning and chaos during the Aug. 29 storm and subsequent flooding.
The review by Homeland Security Department acting Inspector General Rich-
ard L. Skinner examined FEMA's response to four major hurricanes and a tropi-
cal storm that hit Florida and the Gulf Coast in August and September 2004. It
noted FEMA's mission during.disasters as rapid response and coordinating efforts
among federal, state and local authorities.
Suicide attack kills 9 soldiers, wounds 28
A uniformed man on a motorbike detonated a bomb yesterday outside an Afghan
army training center where soldiers were waiting to take buses home, killing nine
people and wounding 28 in a rare suicide attack.
The blast broke 10 days of relative calm after landmark parliamentary elections
and underscored the terrorist threat still facing Afghanistan as it slowly moves toward
democracy. It also added to fears that insurgents here are copying tactics used in Iraq.
A purported Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility and threatened more sui-
cide attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces. His account of the bombing differed from
those of witnesses, however, and his claims could not immediately be verified.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zaher Azimi said authorities had
yet to identify the bomber but blamed "international terrorists." He did not elaborate.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack in "the strongest terms" as he ordered
authorities to investigate.
Country's first female suicide bomber kills 6
A woman disguised in a man's robes and headdress slipped into a line of army
recruits yesterday and detonated explosives strapped to her body, killing at least six
recruits and wounding 35 - the first known suicide attack by a woman in Iraq's
The attack in Tal Afar near the Syrian border appeared aimed at showing that
militants could still strike in a town where U.S. and Iraqi offensives drove out
insurgents only two weeks ago. A female suicide bomber may have been chosen
because she could get through checkpoints - at which women are rarely searched
- then don her disguise to join the line of men, Iraqi officials said.
Bush warns of upsurge of violence in Iraq
President Bush warned yesterday that there will be an upsurge in violence in Iraq
before next month's voting, but said the terrorists will fail. "Our troops are ready
for them," he said.
Bush's remarks in the Rose Garden came a day after Iraqi and U.S. forces
announced they had killed Abdullah Abu Azzam, the No. 2 al-Qaida leader in
Iraq, during a weekend raid in Baghdad.
"This guy's a brutal killer," Bush said.
Al-Qaida in Iraq issued an Internet statement denying that Abu Azzam was its
deputy leader, calling him "one of al-Qaida's many soldiers" and "the leader of one
its battalions operating in Baghdad."
Republicans pick party
whip to fill vacancy; other
reps will help with duties
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Texas
grand jury indicted Rep. Tom DeLay
and two political associates on charges
of conspiracy in a campaign finance
scheme, forcing the House major-
ity leader to temporarily relinquish his
post. A defiant DeLay insisted he was
innocent and called the prosecutor a
"I have done nothing wrong. ... I
am innocent," DeLay told a Capitol
Hill news conference during which he
criticized the Texas prosecutor, Ron-
nie Earle, repeatedly. DeLay said the
charges amounted to "one of the weak-
est and most baseless indictments in
In Austin, Earle told reporters, "Our
job is to prosecute abuses of power and
to bring those abuses to the public." He
has noted previously that he has pros-
ecuted many Democrats in the past.
Republicans at the Capitol selected
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) the current
Republican whip - No. 3 in the lead-
ership ranks - to fill the vacancy
Reps. David Dreier of California, the
chairman of the House Rules Commit-
tee, and Eric Cantor of Virginia, the
chief deputy whip, will assist Blunt with
some of the majority leader duties.
Republicans expressed their backing
for DeLay, the first House leader to be
indicted in office in at least a century.
"He will fight this and we give him
our utmost support," said Speaker Den-
nis Hastert of Illinois following a pri-
vate GOP meeting.
DeLay said he was certain the indict-
ment would be dismissed and shrugged
off the charges as a "political witch
hunt" designed to drive a wedge in the
"If the Democrats think we're going
to go crawl in a hole and not accomplish
our agenda, I wish they could have been
a fly on the wall" of the closed-door
meeting, DeLay said after the session.
The indictment accused DeLay, 58,
of a conspiracy to violate Texas election
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story in Wednesday's edition of the Daily misstated Stephen Rapundalo's title.
Rapundalo is the Democratic candidate for City Council in the second ward, not a
City Council member.
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