Good morning. Today we welcome the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Craig Fugate, to discuss his agency's budget request for fiscal year 2013. After the conclusion of discussions with Administrator Fugate, we will convene a panel of witness from stakeholder organizations.
I will make a brief opening statement in order to allow more time for Members to ask questions and to proceed with our second panel today.
Administrator Fugate, I want to first thank you and the hundreds of FEMA personnel who deployed to my home state after the devastating tornadoes last year -- and are still there today helping communities pick up the pieces.
As recently as this past weekend, we again saw the devastation wrought by severe weather -- and once again we look to FEMA to assist our State and local responders, as needed. We thank you -- and those dedicated folks on the ground -- for your hard work.
Administrator Fugate, before we begin, I want to touch briefly on several issues which we will discuss at length later in the hearing.
With respect to disaster funding, we want to know: Will the Disaster Relief Fund be solvent through the remainder of this year and the next -- and will FEMA complete all recovery projects for disasters that happened last year before the end of FY13?
And on grant reform, we want to know: How will grant reform work and how will FEMA allocate funding under a new framework? Will you provide funding to high-risk urban areas, port authorities, and transit agencies as you have in the past...or will funding be provided solely to states for distribution? Furthermore, if allocations are dependent upon a State's threat and risk assessments, when will you provide guidance on the process that you announced over a year ago?
These questions and others must be answered as your proposal is considered. And as you continue to engage Congress on this matter -- I strongly encourage you to reach out to the State and local stakeholders that will be impacted by the proposed changes.
Administrator Fugate, these are issues with which you are very familiar. You have seen these issues from the local, State and now Federal level. I look forward to your thoughts on these problems and what progress you have made in the last year, as well as the challenges that remain.