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Norton Chairs Hearing On Disaster Relief

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By Matt McCleskey

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is chairing a hearing today into how the federal government provides relief to big cities following natural disasters.

Three mayors will testify before the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. One is Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, whose city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He led a task force of the U.S. Conference of Mayors that recently issued a report on reforming the federal Stafford Disaster Relief Act. The mayors of Des Moines, Iowa and Rochester, New York will also appear.

Norton says she's particularly interested in the mayors' testimony now that D.C. has had to request Stafford Act relief for the first time following this winter's snowstorms.

President Obama this week said the season's first major snowstorm in December created an official disaster in the District, making D.C. eligible for federal aid.

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