Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have joined forces to help spearhead a private fundraising effort in support of earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Watch John King's interview with the two former presidents Sunday on CNN's State of the Union beginning at 9 a.m. ET. (Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Related video: President Obama announces Clinton-Bush relief effort
Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) - President Obama announced Saturday that President George W. Bush and President Clinton have agreed to lead an effort to raise funds for Haiti.
Clinton, who is the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, said he wants to accomplish a fundraising effort like the one he organized with President George H.W. Bush after the Asian tsunami in 2005.
"Right now, all we need to do is get food and medicine and water and a secure place for them to be," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Congress is rushing to pass a bill that would allow Americans to write off donations for Haiti disaster relief on last year's tax returns, instead of waiting until next year to deduct their charitable contributions.
Lawmakers hope it will encourage more Americans to help fund aid efforts in the devastated nation. Republican and Democratic leadership aides in the House and Senate tell CNN they expect the bill will pass easily and quickly, possibly as soon as next week. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York; and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, introduced a bill Friday that would apply to donations that have already been made and to donations for Haiti relief that are made before March 1.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa announced their intention Friday to introduce a similar bill once the Senate returns on Tuesday.
Congress passed similar legislation in 2005 to encourage charitable donations following the tsunami that devastated nations on the Indian Ocean in December 2004.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama confirmed Friday that he will team up with former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to discuss how best to encourage a broad-based national volunteer relief effort for Haiti.
The three leaders will meet Saturday at the White House.
Obama also said he has spoken on the phone Haitian President Rene Preval and "expressed ... deepest condolences for the people of Haiti and our strong support for the relief efforts that are under way."
Many communication lines in the stricken country remain down, Obama noted. Many people are still unaccounted for. "The scale of the devastation is extraordinary ... and the losses are heartbreaking," he said at the White House.
Former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush have accepted President Obama's request to lead a private fundraising effort to help Haiti. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have agreed to help the Obama administration's efforts to help bring swift aid to Haiti, according to two officials familiar with the discussions. The two former presidents will reprise the role that Clinton and ex-President George H.W. Bush played after the tsunami, and are expected to tape public service announcements urging American to make charitable donations. The two leaders are also likely to travel to Haiti at an appropriate time, according to the officials.
Update: Former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush issued the following statement Thursday evening.
We are deeply saddened by the devastation and suffering caused by the recent earthquake in Haiti. The people of Haiti are in our thoughts and prayers.
We are pleased to accept President Obama's request to lead private sector fundraising efforts. In the days and weeks ahead, we will draw attention to the many ways American citizens and businesses can help meet the urgent needs of the Haitian people.
Americans have a long history of showing compassion and generosity in the wake of tragedy. We thank the American people for rallying to help our neighbors in the Caribbean in their hour of suffering – and throughout the journey of rebuilding their nation.
Washington (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell praised the Obama administration's initial response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti Thurday, and said that the international community needs to be prepared to provide aid for years to come.
Powell told CNN's Wolf Blitzer he is "very impressed" with the way the Obama administration has handled the immediate aftermath of the earthquake so far. Powell said he would help out if he is asked to, but said that the president did the right thing by asking former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to pitch in.
"I think the Commander-in-chief, he seems to have everything under control," Powell said.
Powell spoke emotionally about his personal connection to Haiti, and described how he felt seeing the images of the presidential palace in ruins.
"It hit me very deeply. I've been in that palace. I've been to negotiations in that palace and it's a beautiful building," Powell said. "To see it collapse - and when you realize what that meant to the rest of the city - it struck me deeply, and my heart immediately went out to the Haitian people who have suffered so much."
The U.S. government announced the death of a U.S. citizen in Haiti Thursday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - The U.S. government announced the death of a U.S. citizen in Haiti Thursday while a seminary in Iowa said one of its students is believed to have died.
Victoria DeLong, a cultural affairs officer in Haiti, died in her home when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit, Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley said. DeLong began serving in Haiti last year, he said, and had been with the State Department since 1983.
Also, the Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, said student Benjamin Larson, 25, of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, a senior at the seminary, was believed to have died in Haiti. There was no official confirmation of Larson's death.
It is hard to determine exactly how many Americans are missing as a result of Tuesday's earthquake, Crowley said. U.S. officials have previously indicated some Americans living in the stricken Caribbean country might not want or be able to get in touch with acquaintances or officials in the United States.
He said earlier, however, that three Americans in Haiti in an official capacity were missing.
Washington (CNN) - The retired general who took charge in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina said Thursday the U.S. military should have arrived in earthquake-devastated Haiti 24 hours earlier.
"The good Samaritans who moved early on the first day are to be applauded. They made a difference," Lt. Gen. Russel Honore told CNN.
"What we've got to do now is get the heavy equipment in. I thought the U.S. military could have been there a day earlier. They're on the ground now, and they have a brigade en route and that's going to make a big difference," he said.
Honore, best known for his management of the recovery efforts following the hurricane that killed about 2,000 people on the Gulf Coast, said "time is of the essence" in helping quake survivors.