Arkansas Didn't Get Requested $30 Million for Refugee Job Placement

SEPTEMBER 16, 2005 - Posted at 8:12 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State and federal officials are dismayed that the federal Labor Department gave millions of dollars to Texas and the three states hit by Hurricane Katrina to help find jobs for displaced workers, but did not give any to Arkansas.

Senator Blanche Lincoln said the Labor Department didn't consider how it was distributing the money and ran out of funds before Arkansas could get any help.  Governor Mike Huckabee was also disappointed that his state continues to be overlooked for its role in relief efforts by the federal agencies involved.

Huckabee has already expressed his displeasure with FEMA, which didn't seem to know that Arkansas had taken in 75,000 refugees, the second-most of any state.  State officials are also worried that they won't be reimbursed for providing state-administered benefits like Medicaid or food stamps to the victims.

Senator Mark Pryor said President Bush missed a golden opportunity in his address to the nation last night to bring Democrats and Republicans together over the tragedy.  He said political games are still being played over who is to blame for a poor emergency response.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)