View the full forum here.
My seven years as staff on the Senate Banking Committee was largely spent trying to avert one financial disaster or another. In the middle of those impending financial disasters was at least one natural disaster: Hurricane Katrina. I was tasked with leading the staff efforts on the Republican side of the Committee. Working for Alabama’s senior senator added the urgency of constituent concerns. What follows are some of my reflections from that experience.
Lesson One: have a plan ahead of time and stick to it. While of course there was a framework for disaster assistance before Katrina, as spelled out under the Stafford Act, both the scale of the disaster and heated politics made the existing framework somewhat irrelevant. Instead everyone had a plan. Most of them half-baked. The result was the path of least resistance in Washington: a large blank check.