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Public Statements

FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2903, the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2012, and particularly section 102, which authorizes the integrated public alert and warning system.

Section 102 is very similar to H.R. 3563, legislation that I introduced last year to authorize IPAWS, as we call it, which was reported by the Committee on Homeland Security in March. The bill authorizes FEMA's efforts to provide timely emergency alerts and warnings through a range of alerting mechanisms and forms of technology. Emergency management officials, including officials in my home State of Florida, have stressed the value and importance of IPAWS to me personally.

The National Emergency Management Association has publicly supported my IPAWS legislation, and I'm pleased to see they support this bill as well.

The Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, which I chair, has conducted robust oversight of the IPAWS program during the 112th Congress, having held multiple hearings and a briefing on the topic.

I want to thank Chairman Denham for working with me and my staff to incorporate some of the provisions of my bill that were a product of this oversight into the legislation we are considering today, including language related to individuals with disabilities, access and functional needs, language ensuring the protection of individual privacy, and language regarding the resilience of the system.

I'm disappointed, however, that language I suggested to include a specific reference of the system's applicability to acts of terrorism was not incorporated into the bill. However, I look forward to working with Chairman Denham and our Senate colleagues as this bill moves through the legislative process to clarify this issue.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill.

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