FEMA & Disaster Program Reform

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is working to cut red tape in the programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reduce the costs of recovering from natural disasters, help communities rebound from disasters more quickly and cost-effectively, and save taxpayers millions of dollars.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the need to reform FEMA disaster assistance programs will become even more urgent.

H.R. 2903, the FEMA Reauthorization Act, is a bill that will help achieve these goals and improve the efficiency of FEMA programs.  The bill was introduced in the House by Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham, and was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on September 19, 2012.

The bill includes a number of important FEMA streamlining and cost-cutting reforms supported by Full Committee Chairman John L. Mica and Subcommittee Chairman Denham.  Provisions included in H.R. 2903:

  • Provide FEMA with broad authority, on a pilot basis, to waive regulatory hurdles that add years of delay and millions of dollars to rebuilding public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals,
  • Provide a streamlined method for states and local communities to receive needed supplies and equipment that FEMA no longer needs,
  • Require FEMA to finally implement cost saving provisions like cost estimating and allowing states to administer hazard mitigation grants,
  • Shorten FEMA’s appeals process for assistance so projects can move forward more quickly instead of being locked in dispute for years,
  • Protect our first responders by authorizing the Urban Search and Rescue teams,
  • Require FEMA to review its policies and regulations to cut red tape and speed up the recovery process,
  • Require FEMA to ensure its cycle for State Hazard Mitigation plans is consistent with local planning cycles,
  • Provide for a mechanism for Tribes to request a disaster declaration,
  • Make permanent FEMA’s debris removal pilot program, which demonstrated how a streamlined process can expedite debris removal and lower costs, and
  • Reauthorize the Dam Safety program.

H.R. 2903 also incorporates the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) measure Chairman Denham introduced in the House in 2011. The IPAWS provisions will provide a clear framework for the modernization of FEMA’s outdated Emergency Alert System, and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not wasted in the process.

More Information:

  • December 4, 2012: Committee Leaders Call for Senate Action on FEMA Reform Bill to Help Speed Sandy Recovery
  • November 2, 2012: Bill to Cut FEMA Red Tape Stalled in U.S. Senate
  • September 19, 2012: House Approves Bill to Cut FEMA Red Tape and Speed Up Disaster Recovery
  • August 16, 2012: Denham Leads Subcommittee Hearing Focusing on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Region Disaster Preparation
  • July 24, 2012: Hazard Mitigation Benefits Highlighted at Hearing
  • March 8, 2012: Committee Approves FEMA Reforms, Budget Views & Estimates, and $316 Million in Federal Lease Savings
  • March 1, 2012: Panel Approves FEMA & Disaster Program Reform Measure
  • December 13, 2011: Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on Our Nation's Public Alert System
  • October 13, 2011: Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on Streamlining Emergency Management Programs
  • July 14, 2011: Denham's Hearing Focuses on Cutting the Red Tape in Emergency Recovery Process
  • March 30, 2011: Chairman Denham Stresses Importance of Coordination at Every Level of Government in Emergency Preparedness


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