Using powers created after he failed to do anything before or after Hurricane Katrina slowly barreled into New Orleans, lame duck President George W Bush declared a state of emergency in advance of next Tuesday’s inauguration. It is the first time the federal government has declared that an emergency exists in advance of a political event.
(Bush visited storm-ravaged New Orleans four days after the hurricane hit.)
The move is little more than a bureaucratic step to free up federal money to reimburse the District of Columbia for inauguration expenditures. DC expects its final inauguration tab to run to $47 million, more than triple the 15$ million allocated by Congress. Bush’s emergency declaration is essentially an end run around the Legislative Branch, as getting additional funds from the nation’s lawmakers could take months.