President Bush did not spell out any new plans to help New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states rebuild in his state of the union speech Tuesday evening."We're providing debris removal and repairing highways and rebuilding levees," the president said in his Jan. 31 speech to Congress. "We're providing business loans and housing assistance." Congress has already appropriated $85 billion to assist with the cleanup, and only $23 billion has been spent so far. The Bush administration recently announced that $11.5 billion is available to help hurricane victims rebuild their homes. But the president has nixed the creation of a new government agency, the Louisiana Recovery Corp., proposed by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., to oversee and finance the cleanup and rebuilding of New Orleans and other hard-hit areas of the state. Despite Bush administration opposition to the Baker plan, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., still plans to hold a hearing in mid-February to examine proposals to rebuild the Gulf Coast region, including taking a close look at the Baker proposal. "We will give it a full airing before the committee," a committee spokesman said.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the mortgage industry

30-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the mortgage industry