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Home   /   Capitol Connection   /   Capitol Connection 09/06/2005

Hurricane Katrina

Congress reconvened on Friday, September 2, to pass $10.5 billion in emergency disaster relief funds for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, $10 billion is directed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The additional $500 million is directed to the Department of Defense to be used for hurricane expenses, including the evacuation. Although this emergency funding will provide a much-needed shot in the arm to FEMA and other federal agencies, much more will be needed in the coming weeks and months when the total economic loss is calculated.

My deepest condolences go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, who lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. All Americans stand united in our effort and commitment to helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina recover and get back on their feet again.

Websites for Missing Persons/Donations/Volunteers

Locating Missing and Stranded Individuals:

In order to assist the Coast Guard in identifying and locating stranded individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina, they strongly recommend that if you are aware of a stranded individual, that you visit this website - – and complete the missing and stranded persons form. It will be fed directly to rescue operations. In addition, this website has additional emergency phone numbers to assist with the recovery efforts.

Red Cross Website Linking Family Members:

The American Red Cross launched a website linking family members who are seeking news about loved ones living in the path of Hurricane Katrina. Visit the "Family Links Registry" via to register yourself, a missing relative or view the existing list of registrants.

Organizations Accepting Donations:

My office has received hundreds of calls and emails from folks in WNC asking how they can help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The following organizations are accepting donations to fund their disaster response, relief and/or recovery efforts in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Please contact the organizations directly for information about the services they are providing now and/or will provide over the coming months and years to help families recover from this devastation to their lives and homes. For a complete list please visit

American Red Cross

The Salvation Army

The United Way

Medical Volunteers:

The Florida Medical Volunteer Registry is accepting applications for licensed medical personnel to work in the areas affected by hurricane Katrina in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Volunteers can register at

Personnel can also check the American College of Emergency Physicians website at to learn of needs around the country, as they are announced.

Businesses and Contractors Offering Services:

The Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) serves as the nation’s nerve center for information sharing and domestic incident management. At the request of the HSOC – the National Emergency Resource Registry (NERR) has been activated. THE NERR- stands ready to assist the coordination efforts between the resources that are needed and the resources that may be available. If you or your organization / agency / corporation have resources that may be made available to the response agencies, please list them in the Resource Registry.

Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,


John Roberts Nominated for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

As you are certainly aware, United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist passed away on Saturday night after a battle with thyroid cancer. He was named to the Court in 1972 and was appointed Chief Justice in 1986. The Chief Justice was a highly intelligent man with a strong devotion to public service. My thoughts and prayers are with Chief Justice Rehnquist’s family.

President Bush has nominated Judge John Roberts for the position of Chief Justice. Earlier the President had nominated Roberts to fill the vacancy on the Court caused by the announced retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The President must now nominate another candidate to fill Justice O’Connor’s slot on the Court.

Roberts certainly has impressive credentials. He is a graduate of the Harvard School of Law and has served on the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Previously he was attorney with the D.C. law firm of Hogan and Hartson and served in high positions in the Justice Department during the Reagan Administration. Roberts also served as a law clerk for Justice Rehnquist. Nothing suggests that Judge Roberts would be anything less than a highly capable jurist.

The Senate was scheduled to begin hearings on the Roberts nomination on September 6th. Those hearings were postponed, however, until next Monday so that proper respect may be paid to Chief Justice Rehnquist. As a member of the House of Representatives, I do not vote on judicial nominees; I do hope, however, that the Senate Judiciary Committee will accord Judge Roberts a fair and open hearing without divisive partisanship. Should you wish to express your thoughts regarding the Roberts nomination, I encourage you to contact North Carolina’s United States Senators. You may do so by using the following information:

The Honorable Elizabeth Dole
555 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-6342

The Honorable Richard Burr
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3154

Free Annual Credit Reports Now Available

Since September 1st, consumers in North Carolina joined the rest of the country in qualifying for a free annual credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The free reports were mandated by Congress in The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), which requires the nationwide credit bureaus to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report, at their request, once every 12 months. Consumers who want to access their credit report online can go to

Consumers who visit to get their free report online should close their Internet browser after obtaining their report to be sure their transaction is secure and their personal information is not at risk. Consumers also may order their free annual credit report by calling toll-free, 1-877-322-8228, or by mailing a completed Annual Credit Report Request Form to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The form can be downloaded from or from the FTC’s Web site, at It also can be requested by calling the FTC’s Consumer Response Center at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Consumers may choose to order free reports from all three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or stagger their requests over the course of the year. Consumers are eligible to order a free credit report any time – they are not required to submit their request within a certain period of time.