Barletta’s Disaster Recovery Reform Act Signed into Law

Oct 5, 2018
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation is largest disaster preparedness reform since Katrina

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 302 into law, which included Congressman Lou Barletta’s (PA-11) Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA).  Barletta’s bill is the largest reform to the U.S. disaster preparedness and recovery system since Hurricane Katrina and institutes pre-disaster mitigation practices that will help prevent future loss of life and address the rising costs of disasters throughout America.

“Pennsylvania is no stranger to the threats posed by natural disasters, having suffered many from Hurricane Lee and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, to this year’s summer storms that caused flooding in 20 counties across the state,” Barletta said.  “Last year, 26.4 million Americans were affected by a disaster – that’s eight percent of the U.S. population – and countless lives were lost.  With the Disaster Recovery Reform Act now law, we can invest in making our communities safer and more resilient before disaster strikes.  After passing the House three times, I’m glad the Senate recognized the critical need for this bipartisan legislation, and I applaud President Trump for signing it into law.”

A bipartisan effort led by Barletta to address disaster recovery in the U.S., DRRA implements broad reforms at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  In particular, the legislation increases the federal emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation.  Barletta, who is the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, has long been an advocate for investing in pre-disaster mitigation.  Pre-disaster mitigation includes a wide variety of activities, such as proactive preparation and planning, elevating or moving structures prone to flooding, and hardening structures to mitigate effects of hurricanes or earthquakes.

Barletta’s bill also includes provisions ranging from ensuring that individuals with disabilities are able to repair or replace accessibility related property to ensuring pets and other animals are taken care of during disasters. 

In August, Barletta visited sites in Dauphin County where summer storms devastated roads, homes, and lives.  Specifically, Barletta assessed the flood damage at Engle Road and Bridge over Conewago Creek in Londonderry Township and the Duke Street Bridge in Hummelstown.  To learn more about these visits, click here.

Last month, Barletta and former FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison wrote a joint op-ed calling for Congress to act on DRRA.  You can find the op-ed, which was published in The Hill, here.