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Tennesse Delegation Calls for FEMA Reform

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Tennesse Delegation Calls for FEMA Reform

Congressmen Marsha Blackburn (TN-7), Steve Cohen (TN-9), and John Tanner (TN-8) introduced legislation today that will expand eligibility for FEMA housing relief to the heirs of those killed in natural disasters.

The legislation comes in response to constituents who inherited property damaged by the devastating 2008 tornadoes from relatives killed in the very same storm. Under current FEMA statute, heirs are not eligible for FEMA relief as they did not own the property in question at the time of the disaster.

H.R. 1059 amends the Stafford Act by authorizing FEMA to financially assist the dwelling in question as if the homeowner never died, preventing families from enduring two hardships instead of one. The bill is retroactive through last year, encompassing the victims of the 2008 storm.

"The families of the thirty three Tennesseans killed during last year's storm will never be the same again. The government should not compound their loss by refusing them assistance we all know they are entitled to." Blackburn said.

"It is important that we fix this procedural flaw to help those in the tragic situation of having lost a loved one in a destructive act of nature," Congressman Tanner said. "It is our hope that we will be able to help those who have fallen victim to this loophole in the past and ensure other Tennesseans and Americans are not left in a similar position in the future."

"This is a matter of fairness," Cohen said. "I'm glad that Congressman Tanner, Congressman Blackburn and I can join together to correct what is a bureaucratic void. We must ensure that those who have already lost a loved one are not subjected to additional hardship."

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