Bill to Reauthorize FEMA and Drive Down Disaster Costs Introduced in the House
Committee leaders today introduced bipartisan legislation to address the rising costs of disasters in the United States, reduce the toll of future losses, and reauthorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the first time in the agency’s history.
The FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2548) was introduced by the leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee.
The bill provides the first reauthorization of FEMA, first established in 1979, to ensure accountability and strong Congressional oversight of the agency. The legislation establishes a comprehensive study to assess and make recommendations to reduce disaster costs and losses, critical to ensuring America is better prepared to address 21st century disaster preparedness and response challenges. In addition, the bill improves our Nation’s emergency management capabilities, strengthens critical components of our preparedness and response system, and supports our emergency response personnel.
“As disaster costs and losses continue to rise across the Nation, we need to ensure that the federal government is prepared to respond, and our local communities are strong and resilient,” said Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA). “This bill would improve our ability to mitigate disaster damages, train first responders, and improve our Nation’s ability to recover from catastrophes.”
“One important task we have in Congress is to ensure that a critical organization like FEMA maintains the capacity to provide disaster assistance and to support states and local governments in being prepared for a disaster,” said Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Hank Johnson (D-GA). “The FEMA Reauthorization Act will allow FEMA to continue its mission and assist all the stakeholders that FEMA serves.”
“Losses in lives and economic costs as a result of disasters have been rising in recent years,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA). “This bill begins to seriously address this trend and seek ways to reduce losses caused by future disasters.”
“This bipartisan legislation will help FEMA carry out its core mission to support families, communities, and first responders when disasters or emergencies strike,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “This legislation will ensure that necessary training is provided to our first responders. I am also extremely pleased that the legislation includes my provision to ensure FEMA leads efforts to prepare for and protect the Nation from earthquakes, tsunamis, or a combined earthquake/tsunami event to save thousands of lives, countless injuries, and billions of dollars of damage. I thank my colleagues for working together on this legislation, and I look forward to moving this measure forward and getting it signed into law.”
Click here for a summary of the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2017.