Weeks into hurricane season, lawmakers have yet to confirm NOAA director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) — The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy could bring rain, flash flooding and tornadoes to parts of the south. As resident are bracing for what’s next, lawmakers in Washington still need to fill the top spot at one of the agencies that responds to devastating storms.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (LA – 6th District) watches closely from his office in D.C. as Cindy makes its way through his home state.

“The key to this thing is over preparing,” Graves said. “You can’t over prepare for a disaster like this.”

But Graves says that’s exactly what lawmakers didn’t do.

Three weeks into hurricane season and the Louisiana Republican says the government is the most unprepared it has ever been. That’s because the two agencies in charge of protecting the country during disasters are still without leaders.

“Under this president, you’ve seen some of the slowest confirmations that we’ve seen in any president ever,” Graves said.

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The Senate confirmed Brock Long as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Tuesday. That agency helps communities and residents after emergencies.

“So effectively, yes, they did approve Brock… which is great news, but the problem is that you are now throwing this guy in the game at the end of the fourth quarter,” Graves said.

Retired U.S. Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré says that throwing long into a position after a crisis hits is irresponsible.

“You know, we wouldn’t settle in America for a temporary football coach, but we’ve settled for six months for a temporary FEMA director, and that’s shameful,” Honoré said.

William Miller is an atmospheric and ocean researcher. He is more concerned that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — which is in charge of the National Hurricane Center, where they track storms — is still without a director.

“I hope that we are able to get a director for NOAA soon, within the next few weeks,” Miller said.

Miller’s team relies on NOAA for research, but the rest of the country relies on their radar for storm tracking.