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In a rare show of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike ganged up on FEMA and its contractor Wednesday (April 5) for how they have handled the response to August’s historic floods in the Baton Rouge area.

WWL reported that Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said FEMA spent $150,000 per trailer on a supposedly new and improved kind of manufactured housing unit when the same kind could have been purchased and installed in the Baton Rouge area for $50,000 or less.

“Go online for goodness sakes and you could save the taxpayers literally millions of dollars,” an exasperated Chaffetz said.

The acting director of FEMA, Robert Fenton Jr., said the agency is trying its best to try to deal with one of the worst flooding disasters in American history.

“In responding to disasters, we can be precise, cost-effective or fast, but we can’t be all three,” Fenton said.
But the committee’s worst criticism was directed at CB&I, the company managing the manufactured housing unit program for FEMA. CB&I is the multi-national that bought out Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group in 2013 after the Shaw Group had established itself as government’s go-to management company for responding to hurricanes and other major storms.

David Boone, CB&I Federal Services president, appeared before the House committee Wednesday and tried to say they had done exceptional work.

“We have received only positive comments and glowing accolades from FEMA about our performance under this task,” he said.

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