Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who is also a doctor, is blocking more than $1 billion relief funds the U.S. pledged to Haiti after the devastating January earthquake. With more than a million people still homeless more than nine months after the disaster, it seems a strange way to “do no harm” …
Yet the Associated Press (AP) reports today that “not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived” to Haitians who badly the need the aid. This summer, both the House and the Senate passed a bill that would make $917 million available for Haiti reconstruction aid. Yet Congress must also pass an authorization bill that directs exactly how the money will be spent, and thus far, the U.S. Senate has failed to do.
The AP conducted its own investigation of why the Senate has failed to pass the authorization bill, and it discovered that a single senator “pulled it for further study.” After calling dozens of senators’ offices, the AP discovered that the senator holding up the bill is Tom Coburn (R-OK). Coburn spokeswoman Becky Berhardt explained that the reason he is holding up the bill is because he objects to the creation of a senior Haiti coordinator — a position that would cost a paltry $5 million over five years — when the United States currently has an ambassador to the country…
Read more here.
It’s a breathtaking thing to discover, as one of the millions of people who donated money in January to Haiti relief, that so many months later, that much-needed aid is not getting to the people there. And all for U.S. politics. Shameful.
Jon Stewart: your witness:
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