Originally there were to be House hearings on the response to the hurricane, but that's been canceled:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House majority leader late Tuesday tried to deflect criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina by saying "the emergency response system was set up to work from the bottom up," then announced a short time later that House hearings examining that response had been canceled.
Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said House Republican leaders instead want a joint House-Senate panel set up to conduct a "congressional review" of the issue.
Tempers flared Tuesday during a contentious closed-door meeting between House members and Cabinet secretaries in charge of directing Katrina relief efforts. A Republican representative stood up and said, "All of you deserve failing grades. The response was a disaster," CNN was told by lawmakers emerging from the meeting.
But DeLay countered that assessment later in a news conference by saying that the onus for responding to emergencies fell to local officials.
"It's the local officials trying to handle the problem. When they can't handle the problem, they go to the state, and the state does what they can to, and if they need assistance from FEMA and the federal government they ask for it and it's delivered," DeLay said.
He added that Alabama and Mississippi did a much better job of responding quickly than Louisiana. Alabama and Mississippi have Republican governors...