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For Haiti, U.S. aid remains just a promise

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  • The authorization bill that would direct how the aid is delivered remains sidelined by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) "because it includes an unnecessary senior Haiti coordinator when we already have one" in U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten, Coburn spokeswoman Becky Bernhardt said.
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  • Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.
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Jonathan M. Katz and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press/Boston Globe | MA

Catholics prayed amid the rubble of the Notre Dame cathedral during Mass in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sunday. (Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press)

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Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.

The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The United States has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, the reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin.

With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization, and a lack of urgency, the Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House, and the UN Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.

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