Like Senate, House Committee rejects independent Katrina commission

John Byrne

Republicans on the House Rules Committee unanimously approved a commission to investigate failures surrounding the Hurricane Katrina disaster, refusing a proposal from Rep. Doc Hastings (R-FL) which would have created an outside, independent commission to investigate the disaster, RAW STORY has learned.

The vote in the Rules Committee, which will bring a vote to the full House floor, was made late last night.

Democrats were outraged by the vote. They note that the Katrina panel will have an 11-9 Republican majority, which will give only Republicans the power to subpoena.

Hastings proposal is co-signed by 160 House members.

A recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that over 70 percent of Americans preferred that a commission of outside experts investigate the disaster instead of a partisan congressional committee.

In a statement to RAW STORY, ranking Rules Democrat Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said the commission is comparable to "the fox guarding the hen house," and provided the Democrats' dissenting views.

The Senate knocked down a proposal by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to create an independent commission earlier this week. It is expected that the Senate will draw up a similar Republican-led panel to investigate Katrina.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) told The Hill that support among Republicans is strong for an internal commission.

“I think we’re fine,” Blunt said.