Video Attacks David Vitter for FEMA Holdup
The FEMA flareup between Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Democrats continues today as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a Web-only video attacking the lawmaker's continued opposition to Craig Fugate, President Obama's nominee to serve as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Louisiana Republican has stopped a full Senate vote on Fugate as he awaits answers about the fate of three stalled construction projects on Grand Isle. FEMA had approved them, but later withdrew its support because they are located in flood-prone areas where it cannot provide funding. Vitter first sought information on that decision more than two months ago and says he has yet to receive a full answer, even after a meeting last week with FEMA Acting Director Nancy Ward.
Under Senate rules, any senator can hold up a nomination for whatever reason and can choose to do so anonymously. Even DSCC Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) reportedly blocked two of the Obama administration's science nominations earlier this year over an issue related to Cuba. The New Jersey senator withdrew his hold within days, but Vitter has not yet said when he might lift his hold. The White House and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) have asked him to do so quickly.
Last week the senator sent an e-mail to supporters explaining that his continued opposition "isn't about politics." But opponents almost immediately noticed that a link on the e-mail led to a financial donation page on Vitter's 2010 reelection campaign Web site.
"Hurricane season is fast approaching. Louisiana doesn't need any reminders, but David Vitter does," the video's announcer says in the video above.
"Vitter's holding up President Obama's choice to head FEMA. Even fellow Republican senator Mel Martinez said Vitter was holding up the FEMA director to get attention. Vitter's playing political games with this appointment, even attempting to raise campaign contributions from his delaying tactics. Meanwhile, FEMA goes without a leader. And does anyone doubt FEMA needs a leader? Maybe only Vitter, as hurricane season gets closer and closer."
Vitter faces a a potentially challenging reelection campaign next year. He has avoided a primary challenge from Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) and so far only porn star Stormy Daniels has said she's seriously considering a run against Vitter. He gained national notoriety almost two years ago when he admitted to a sexual relationship with a New Orleans prostitute and critics say he's using his continued opposition to Obama administration policies and nominees as a way to distract Louisiana voters from his past indiscretions.
| May 11, 2009; 3:50 PM ET
Categories: Confirmation Hearings, Congress
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