Vitter Presses Feinberg in Senate Hearing

January 27, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter today, at the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, pressed oil-spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg to commit publicly to not leaving his post until all claims have been completed. Feinberg has been rumored to be on a short list of candidates to oversee the duties established by the 9/11 compensation bill passed in the final days of the 111th Congress.

“I’m disappointed that Mr. Feinberg wouldn’t make a definitive public statement that he wouldn’t leave his critically important post until the job was done,” Vitter said. “He had a real opportunity to put many Louisianians at ease and unfortunately passed up that chance.”

Vitter also pressed Feinberg on three specific cases of Louisianians who directly appealed to Feinberg at one of his Louisiana town hall meetings but still have not received any help or closure with their claims. Specifically, Vitter cited Tracy and Mike Roberts from Barataria, Michelle Chauncey also of Barataria, and Rudy Carmadelle from Crown Point. All attended Feinberg’s town hall meeting in Lafitte on January 11th.

“While Mr. Feinberg has touted a large broad figure of claims success, many Louisianians I’ve heard from believe that many of the tougher claims – those of our shrimpers, fishermen and processors who were more directly impacted – are being ignored,” said Vitter.

Feinberg was questioned by Vitter to explain his methodology in expediting quick claims instead of focusing on the more trying cases. News reports have indicated that, “92 percent are people who work in retail sales and service jobs or for restaurants, bars or hotels. Only 5 percent are fishers or seafood processors and distributors, whose jobs are directly tied to the offshore spill zone.” (Times Picayune, January 27, 2011)

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