The Portland (ME) Press Herald reported today on Sen. Susan Collins’ plans for finishing up the HSGAC investigation of Katrina over the next month:
Collins hopes to complete her report, a bipartisan effort in contrast to the House Republican version, by mid-March. She met Thursday with Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the committee’s top Democrat, to discuss scores of legislative proposals expected by late March.
“I believe and hope that government officials at all levels have learned the serious lessons of Katrina,” Collins said. “Preparedness is still not where it should be.”
Two of the biggest proposals already circulating at the Capitol aim to remove Chertoff, and shift the Federal Emergency Management Agency from the Department of Homeland Security. Reasons for the proposals are somewhat intertwined. But Collins is skeptical of either action.
Based on the hearings, I’m expecting a very thorough report, one that is perhaps less biting in its rhetoric than the House report released last week, but equally damning in the substance of its findings. Also, unlike the House report, the Senate report is likely to include a set of recommendations. As the article mentions, there are numerous other recommendations floating around Congress related to Katrina, DHS, and FEMA right now, which could gain traction in the coming weeks. To avoid the possibility that their ideas will be crowded out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Collins and Lieberman starting to preview their recommendations in the weeks prior to releasing the report.
Update (4/27): Here’s the link to the materials in the final report which were released today.