Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA); Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV); Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA); and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Andre Carson (D-IN) introduced the first ever reauthorization of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve the Nation’s emergency management capabilities, modernize and strengthen critical components of the preparedness and response system, and support emergency response personnel.
“I am proud to build on the important work of this Committee to ensure accountability and strong Congressional oversight of FEMA,” said Full Committee Chairman Shuster. “This bipartisan legislation will also take important steps to ensure fiscal responsibility, that preparedness and response systems keep up to date with modern technology, and that we support our emergency response personnel.”
“This legislation provides greater coordination between local, federal, and state personnel authorities for emergency responses. As a former mayor, and during the September 2011 floods in Pennsylvania, I saw firsthand that it is absolutely critical for all disaster response officials to work together to best serve the victims of the disaster,” said Subcommittee Chairman Barletta. “Reauthorizing FEMA will also provide for continued oversight and accountability of the executive branch.”
“The legislation we are offering today would reauthorize vital programs within FEMA. These initiatives are crucial for response efforts,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Carson. “As a former first responder, I am especially pleased with the changes to the Urban Search and Rescue program that would assist the families of emergency response personnel should they fall in the line of duty.”
As a former Chairman of the Emergency Management Subcommittee and as a member of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, Chairman Shuster played a lead role in the landmark Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act that significantly reorganized FEMA and provided the first statutory authorization of FEMA by Congress in the agency’s history.
Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, which made important disaster recovery improvements to speed up and streamline Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts and reduce costs. Streamlined procedures and increased flexibility will allow applicants to recover in the manner that will best support their community; this will result in saved time and money during recoveries from Sandy and future disasters while strengthening a community’s resilience against such events.
Press Release, October 23, 2013