"The failure of FEMA was a failure of leadership. I regret that FEMA Director Michael Brown did not resign. He should have resigned or been fired."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) issued the following statement today following Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's announcement that Vice Admiral Thad Allen will take over Katrina relief efforts:
"I'm relieved on behalf of the American people at the appointment of Coast Guard Vice Admiral Allen as the lead official overseeing the Katrina recovery efforts. He is a distinguished, seasoned professional with decades of experience in crisis management. This just the type of professional leadership I have been calling for to run this effort.
"The focus now must be on recovery. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with Vice Admiral Allen and the administration in those recovery efforts.
"We need to then reform FEMA. FEMA must become FEMA again. FEMA must regain its focus on the 3 "R"s: Readiness, Response and Recovery. It should return to its risk-based mission, and stand prepared to respond to all hazards, from tornadoes to terrorists. This was its original purpose when I led the effort to reform FEMA in the 1990s. It's what made the agency so effective. That's what will save lives and communities and ensure that failures like this will never happen again.
"The failure of FEMA was a failure of leadership. I regret that FEMA Director Michael Brown did not resign. He should have resigned or been fired. His handling of this tragedy has been a complete disaster from the beginning. Only a new FEMA director will begin to restore the American people's faith in this essential agency."