Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Donate for Disaster Relief Act.
Forty-seven major disasters were declared last year. The year before that, we had 99 major disasters. Three major disasters have already been declared in 2013. On top of that, there were a number of smaller incidents that don't rank on the scale. A tornado that destroys a single house might not be a ``super storm,'' but for the family that lost its home, that tornado certainly is a major disaster.
Things are not going to get better. There are going to be more major disasters. We are going to have to pay for the response and repair. We need to start thinking about what we can do ahead of time to be prepared for when they strike. We don't have to wait for the worst to happen before we actually do something. This bill will help us get ready beforehand. Why wait?
The Donate for Disaster Relief Act creates a completely voluntary check-off on income tax returns that lets taxpayers elect to donate to a disaster relief trust. This bill is an opportunity for us to share our selflessness and generosity before an emergency situation.
The harsh reality of disasters is that while we may not be able to predict when, we certainly can be prepared. The altruism of the American people is on display in their willingness to pitch in and help those in their greatest time of need. This bill creates an easy way for concerned Americans to anticipate the need for disaster relief, wherever and whenever it may be necessary.