The House of Representatives today unanimously approved a bipartisan bill to cut red tape and reduce costs in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programs.
The FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 2903), introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), streamlines FEMA programs to help communities recover from disasters more quickly and cost-effectively.
Denham, who chairs the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, and Full Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) worked to include a number of cost-saving provisions in the bill, including streamlining the process for states and local communities to receive needed supplies and equipment that FEMA no longer needs, and shortening FEMA's appeals process for assistance.
"This legislation includes important cost saving measures to streamline our emergency preparedness and response efforts to help mitigate against disasters and keep Americans safe," Denham said. "We must ensure our states and local communities can rebuild faster and in a more cost effective way."
"FEMA red tape delays disaster recovery efforts across the country," Mica said. "Reforms in this bill will help communities rebuild faster, lower recovery costs, and save taxpayers millions of dollars."
Provisions included in H.R. 2903:
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,
Protects 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 The IPAWS provisions will provide a clear framework for the modernization of FEMA's outdated Emergency Alert System, and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are not wasted in the process.