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House clears Haiti bill with an assist from Florida lawmakers

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs committee, and Rep. Frederica Wilson handled the floor debate on a bill that calls for tighter oversight of reconstruction dollars in Haiti. Ros-Lehtinen said the bill will make it easier to see "what is working, and what is not working."

Wilson, who was in Haiti over the weekend, said the bill requires a report to assess the overall progress of relief, recovery, and reconstruction of Haiti and requires the president to assess within six months the effectiveness of U.S. assistance to Haiti. 

It also includes Wilson’s amendment requiring that the U.S. government assess how well Haiti can handle deportees. Wilson noted more than 800,000 are still living in tent camps with no running water and a single toilet for every 80 residents. Armed bandits roam the tent cities, she said, and there is rampant sexual abuse against women and girls

"It is inhumane to send anyone back to such conditions," she added.

California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters noted an overwhelming early response to the disaster, "yet more than one year later, little of the money has reached the people of Haiti.

"Foreign aid without transparency will accomplish nothing," she said. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., reiterated a call for the U.S. to halt deportations to Haiti.