When could the Feds act?

I’ve heard a lot of talk about when the federal government could help people affected by Katrina. The claim is that the president nor the federal government could do anything until specifically asked to help by the local authorities. In fact, the president could act before that, and he did.

The President’s action authorizes [FEMA] to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety …

The statement issued by the White House then goes on to list parishes that the order covers. None of the parishes in southeast Louisiana are listed.

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