WASHINGTON , Dec. 28 -- The office of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu , D- La. , issued the following news release: U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu , D- La. , today announced St. Bernard Parish Government's $5.42 million Community Disaster Loan (CDL) from Hurricane Gustav has been fully canceled. Of the $5.42 million , $420,140 is in interest savings. Today's announcement is the latest in several complete cancelations of CDLs for Southeast Louisiana communities. Earlier this week, Sen. Landrieu announced that the St. Tammany School Board's $67.8 million loan had been completely canceled, in addition to last month's cancelation of St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Office's $9.9 million loan and the Parish government's $14.5 million loan. After restoring the prospect of forgiveness in 2007, Sen. Landrieu had to fundamentally change the loan forgiveness process in 2012 to ensure Southeast Louisiana applicants like St. Tammany Parish's school board were treated fairly under the law. Sen. Landrieu included a provision in her 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill that fixed the formula to allow the cancellation of $278 million in CDLs in many Southeast Louisiana communities. The old formula failed to recognize necessary expenses; penalized communities for revenues that are otherwise dedicated; and omitted budgetary circumstances beyond the three-year period following the disaster. "Year's of persistence and partnership with St. Bernard officials to change the law and create a commonsense formula has paid off big today for St. Bernard Parish and its people by canceling its $5.42 million loan. St. Bernard can now instead use these funds to invest in its infrastructure, avoid laying off emergency first responders and continue its recovery from Hurricane Gustav," Sen. Landrieu said. "We have seen numerous cancelations during the last few weeks, and I am hopeful that the remaining loans for other Southeast Louisiana communities will also be canceled." Today's announcement is in addition to the $35.6 million canceled for nine Louisiana community entities Sen. Landrieu announced in August and the $7.2 million canceled for Jefferson Parish Sheriff's department she announced in September. As the Senate worked late last year on a disaster relief bill for communities and regions hard hit by disasters in 2012, Sen. Landrieu included and passed this same provision in the Senate bill that died as a result of House inaction in December 2012 . When the House passed a smaller, revised version in January 2013 , it stripped this provision from the bill. Sen. Landrieu has time and time again sought legislative and other solutions to help affected communities with outstanding loans. In 2007, Sen. Landrieu authored a provision to restore the possibility of loan forgiveness and nullify Republican legislation in 2005 that made forgiveness outright impossible under any circumstances. Without this legislation, these communities would have had to repay every penny. As a result of Sen. Landrieu's 2007 provision, FEMA previously canceled $602 million in debt that Louisiana communities (approximately 60 percent) would otherwise be required to repay under the Republican legislation that originally authorized the loans. In 2010, Sen. Landrieu convened a three-hour meeting with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and representatives from eight Louisiana parishes in her office to explain to FEMA officials how the formula did not accurately calculate a parish's revenue and expenses for determining whether an applicant met the forgiveness requirements. 30VitinMar 010214-4590858 30VitinMar
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