Barletta’s Disaster Reform Package Passes Committee
Nov 30, 2017
The Disaster Recovery Reform Act Ensures Funding for Mitigation Investment Before Disaster Strikes
WASHINGTON – Today the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved Rep. Lou Barletta’s (PA-11) Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) of 2017 (H.R. 4460) by a voice vote. This bipartisan piece of legislation reforms disaster funding to emphasize the importance of pre-disaster mitigation. Barletta is the Chairman of the Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee.
“Building resilient communities on the front end is the smart way to approach natural disasters for the future,” Barletta said following passage. “The current post-disaster structure no longer operates in a cost effective manner. We need to work to save lives and taxpayer dollars by building stronger, more resilient infrastructure after disaster strikes. By incentivizing pre-disaster mitigation, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act will help us save $4 to $8 on the back end for every $1 spent on the front end. It’s the smarter approach to disaster recovery.”
In 2017, more than 4.7 million Americans registered for disaster aid, requiring over $50 billion in additional federal disaster recovery funding. Barletta’s bill seeks to find a new structure to the disaster relief system by ensuring dollars go towards mitigation investment before disaster strikes, which will save taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, lives.
“I commend Chairman Barletta for championing this bill to reform our nation’s disaster recovery process,” Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said. “Pre-disaster mitigation is one of the most important steps we can take to better approach disaster recovery. Since becoming Chairman of the subcommittee with oversight of FEMA, Barletta has been working to find a solution that genuinely helps the American people. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act will ensure we are able to build more resilient communities now in order to save lives and taxpayer dollars in the future.”
The DRRA makes critical reforms to FEMA’s disaster response and recovery programs that will help our communities better prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against disasters of all kinds.
In particular, the DRRA increases the federal emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation, which will reduce the future loss of life and the rising costs of disasters throughout America. Furthermore, the DRRA incentivizes building and rebuilding better and smarter to facilitate speedy recovery efforts whenever and wherever disaster does strike.
DRRA also recognizes that houses of worship are significant institutions in America’s local communities. The bill expands access to disaster recovery funds by removing the discriminatory practice of prohibiting sanctuaries from access to these recovery dollars after catastrophe.
Mitigation can encompass a wide variety of activities, including proactive preparation and planning, elevating or moving structures prone to flooding, and hardening structures to mitigate effects of hurricanes or earthquakes.