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A long way from Iraq and the war debate in Washington, Herman Moore sat outside a tent in a downtown New Orleans homeless camp, trying to make sense of a proposal that helps Iraqi war refugees but will likely exclude Hurricane Katrina victims.
"Messed up is not the phrase. I think you know the phrase," Moore said. "This place has been forgotten, just forgotten."
The 56-year-old lifelong city resident is referring to Congress' plan to spend $212 billion to finance the war in Iraq. In the massive spending bill, $350 million is set aside to help Iraqi refugees while just $73 million has been allotted to help shelter physically and mentally disabled Katrina victims — and that money could be cut as early as Tuesday.
Along with funding the war through the first month of the next president's term, the bill provides Jordan's military $100 million and Mexico's armed forces $50 million. In response, lawmakers like Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu have attached over $30 billion to the proposal for what they see as domestic priorities.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must trim the bill or face a threatened veto from President Bush. While the California Democrat supports the housing money for 3,000 rent-aid vouchers, it is part of $2.9 billion in Katrina assistance that may end up being cut.