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Group of Senators Demands Emergency Funds for Haiti

A bipartisan group of Senators demanded Wednesday that the chamber immediately consider legislation authorizing emergency funds be sent to earthquake-stricken Haiti, where thousands are feared dead.

“The United States and the international community must act quickly to address the immediate needs of the Haitian people and to support the Government of Haiti,— the group said in a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and lacks the capacity to respond to and recover from a disaster of such scale and scope,— the letter added. “Robust and immediate U.S. assistance to Haiti in the wake of this catastrophe is vital to support stability in that fragile country, and is in our own national security interest.—

The letter was signed by 14 Members, including Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), but just one Republican, Sen. George LeMieux (Fla.).

The Senate, on recess since Dec. 24, is scheduled to gavel in for a pro forma session Tuesday, with Members back to work in earnest Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Kerry and Foreign Relations ranking member Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) sent a similar letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Wednesday. That letter called for “an aggressive and coordinated international effort with active leadership from the United States.—

Earlier Wednesday, President Barack Obama said resources were being sent to Haiti and a coordinated effort between the State and Defense Departments and U.S. Agency for International Development would be launched immediately. A quake registering 7.0 occurred on the island nation Tuesday afternoon.

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