Houston Chronicle STEWART M. POWELL and BENNETT ROTH:
Mayor Bill White of Houston described the potential range of costs to both the federal government and insurance companies in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. He then joined Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas and Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Capitol Hill to testify before a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on disaster recovery.This bailout will benefit the people and there is transparency in the financing. If this was the Paulson plan the head of FEMA would be demanding $30 billion right now to dole out as he saw fit to crony contractors he picked with no oversight to make good the losses of large corporations in the Houston area.
FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — has not completed damage estimates that would be submitted to the federal government. "But," White said, "I would not be surprised if the total figures (for the federal government) weren't in the $20 billion to $40 billion range. We're going to be enormous."
Latest insurance industry estimates compiled by the Insurance Information Institute of New York foresee privately insured losses ranging from $7 billion to $12 billion. The tally of private insurance losses, coupled with White's, provides the range of all losses of $27 billion to $52 billion.
Some of the federal money is likely to come soon. Late Tuesday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., unveiled details of a catch-all spending bill that includes between $23 billion and $24 billion for natural disaster relief.