Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) will offer the following testimony before the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management today. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building, and can be streamed live here.
"From time to time, Mother Nature sends us a wake-up call. We need to answer it and move decisively to promote sound strategies that save lives, mitigate the devastation of future disasters, and save taxpayer money. A foundation of our national response should be the adoption of model building codes that will make our homes and businesses more resistant to nature's forces. It is not enough to simply pass another supplemental appropriations bill and wait for the next storm to hit.
"That is why I, along with my colleagues Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Steve Southerland (R-FL), have introduced H.R. 2069, the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. This legislation provides a financial incentive for states to voluntarily adopt and enforce model national building codes for the construction of new residential and commercial properties. Qualifying states would receive an additional 4 percent in post-disaster relief grants from FEMA to address long-term hazard mitigation, such as improving drainage structures, restraining cables on bridges, elevating structures to reduce flood damage, and installing window shutters for hospitals and other critical facilities. This bill rewards states that already have and enforce building codes, and states that don't have them are given a significant incentive. This bill does not place a mandate on states that do not currently have and enforce statewide building codes.
"The facts surrounding strong building codes are clear and widely embraced by disaster mitigation experts and emergency management officials. As Congress considers disaster funding in response to current and future disasters, the Safe Building Code Incentive Act can make our homes and communities safer and stronger while saving lives, reducing long-term costs, and ultimately saving taxpayer dollars. We can't afford to pass up an opportunity to do something lasting for the American people."