The new secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will visit eastern Iowa Wednesday to gauge progress of flood recovery efforts. Janet Napolitano will tour flood-damaged areas of Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Coralville and will meet with area leaders.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s encouraged Napolitano, who was sworn into office last month, is making the trip. FEMA is under her jurisdiction, Grassley says, and he believes the emergency management agency is responding in Cedar Rapids much better than it did after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast a few years back. Still, Grassley says there are things FEMA could be handling more efficiently in Iowa, as homeowners and businesses continue working to recover from last June’s flooding.
Grassley says, “I think she’s going to have to explain how come money’s not flowing faster.” He points out the federal funds were appropriated last October but many relief dollars still haven’t reached the Iowans who need them. Grassley says he heard just last week from Iowa City homeowners and merchants who are frustrated that they’re still waiting on the promised federal help.