Barbour Blasts Feds

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Gov. Haley Barbour says congressional failures to approve emergency funding for roads, schools and housing construction have stalled Mississippi's efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

Without such help, Barbour said Mississippi businesses are unable to decide where to relocate and rebuild, potentially costing the state jobs and chilling its economy.

Barbour made the statements Wednesday before a House panel investigating the government's preparations and response to Katrina.

Congress has approved $62 billion in hurricane relief aid, but nearly all of that money so far has been spent on victims' immediate needs, like food, clothing and shelter.

Barbour applauded some federal help to the state, like Coast Guard rescues in the immediate aftermath of the August 29 storm, and fuel from the Transportation Department for emergency response vehicles. He also estimated that debris removal in the state is only about half completed.

Democrats on the House panel jumped at the political opportunity to align themselves with Barbour's remarks.