U.S. Sens. John Kennedy, left, and Bill Cassidy meet with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, right.

The recent meeting of HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy may have resulted in what was deemed “an informal agreement,” but in many ways it sounds like the same song and dance.       

We appreciate the efforts on the House and Senate delegation. Congressmen Garret Graves and Cedric Richmond fought from the onset to end the Duplication of Benefits provision, which blocked thousands of flood survivors from eligibility for Restore Louisiana awards if they received – and even applied – for a Small Business Administration loan.

The “grant versus loan” issue died in October 2018 when President Donald Trump signed the legislation that struck down the absurd DOB issue. Nearly six months after the repeal, HUD continues to sit on $250 million that does not belong to that office.

The money belongs to flood victims across Louisiana.

The lawsuit a Denham Springs couple filed against the federal government marks the height of shame for how HUD and other agencies have handled this nonaction.

We’ve focused on this stalemate since it came to light four months ago. Not much has changed.

The issue must now go through the federal Office of Budget Management, which means more delays and probably more excuses from the bureaucratic maze we know as Capitol Hill.

Shouldn’t President Trump have a voice in the situation? He signed it into law, so perhaps it’s time he signs an executive order that would require the release of the funds.

Isn’t it an ironic twist on how the federal government handles the money it owes its taxpayers?

If a taxpayer defaults for six months on money owed to the IRS, the agency levies interests and penalties on the taxpayer. Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot.

It would never happen that way, but it’s long overdue for the federal government to award the funds to the rightful parties.

Survivors have waited long enough.

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