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house Bill H.R. 1214

Should FEMA Disaster Recovery Grants be Available for More Small Projects?

Argument in favor

FEMA should increase the threshold that applies to small disaster recovery projects from $123,000 to $500,000 in order to help even more local communities that need assistance to rebuild following a disaster.

Janis's Opinion
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03/27/2017
Yes. Especially since the EPA is being cut and Washington does not believe in global warming. Funds will be needed to help with all the damage this will cause.
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Bethd's Opinion
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03/27/2017
This administration is doing more to hurt our earth than any other before it! There will be more and more need for FEMA especially with polluting Pruitt at the helm of the EPA
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Wayne's Opinion
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03/27/2017
to prevent natural disasters, we need to aggressively address global warming with a carbon emissions tax and with a bold green infrastructure plan (smart grid, car charging stations, subsidies for solar, wind, etc)
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Argument opposed

The threshold that FEMA is currently using for its small disaster recovery grants — $123,000 — is enough to cover the majority of projects requesting funding and small communities can pursue funding elsewhere if needed.

Cinerina's Opinion
···
03/27/2017
Congress! Do your job and protect the clean air and water acts and environmental protections to reduce climate related catastrophes in the first place and also let FEMA decide how their funding should be meted out.
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misoup's Opinion
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03/27/2017
Wait, so because of an issue with the Sponsor's District misuse of FEMA funds he's wanting to change the law? How about localities stop using FEMA money for purposes other than intended! On first glance this seems like a good idea, but there is no evidence given for why it's needed and while the cost says it's $500,000 to make the change it seems this will just allow larger amounts to be used for improper purposes since they would fall under the threshold. More government transparency might lessen the need for these restrictions in the first place.
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Nan's Opinion
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03/27/2017
I am skeptical about republicans wanting to increase funding for something they have repeatedly voted against when disasters have happened. I would need more information about why they want the cap lowered.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed March 27th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedFebruary 24th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 1214?

This bill would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to temporarily increase the threshold for what constitutes a small disaster relief project under the Public Assistance Grant Program from $123,000 to $500,000. In effect, this would allow more projects to be designated as small disaster recovery projects and get expedited assistance. The threshold increase would sunset on September 30, 2021 at which point FEMA would have the ability to adjust the threshold through regulatory action.

Under current law, FEMA’s disaster recovery projects under $130,100 are run in a similar manner to an insurance settlement — they review the damage, estimate the cost, and issue a repair grant. Local governments then assume responsibility for keeping the recovery project funded by the grant on time and on budget in exchange for greater flexibility in how they rebuild and enhance projects with their own funds. That process would be unchanged by this bill except for the grant threshold being increased to $500,000.

FEMA would be required to provide a report reviewing the program to specified congressional committees by May 1, 2021 that includes an assessment of cost-effectiveness, speed of recovery, capacity of the grantees, past performance, and accountability measures.

Impact

Local governments seeking disaster recovery grants; and FEMA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1214

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 annually over the 2018-2022 period and any year thereafter.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) introduced this bill to “expedite disaster assistance to local communities trying to recover from disasters” by giving them access to larger grants from FEMA and flexibility in rebuilding:

“In one of the townships in my congressional district, FEMA reversed its prior approval and has been fighting for years with a local government over whether or not they should have paved a temporary access road that was built after a major flood. The cost of the gravel road was $230,000. The extra cost to pave it, which the community covered with its own funds, was about $50,000 dollars. The amount of money FEMA has wasted in salaries, administration, and legal fees trying to take back the $230,000 dollars likely exceeds the entire project cost. This is red tape out of control, and it does not serve the taxpayers well. My bill would prevent other local governments from facing this nightmare.”

This legislation was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a voice vote. It currently has the support of two Republican cosponsors in the House.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: FEMA Photo Library / Creative Commons)

AKA

Disaster SAVE Act

Official Title

To require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct a program to use simplified procedures to issue public assistance for certain projects under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, and for other purposes.

    Yes. Especially since the EPA is being cut and Washington does not believe in global warming. Funds will be needed to help with all the damage this will cause.
    Like (134)
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    Congress! Do your job and protect the clean air and water acts and environmental protections to reduce climate related catastrophes in the first place and also let FEMA decide how their funding should be meted out.
    Like (50)
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    CEASE AND DESIST IMMEDIATELY FROM ANY AND ALL CONGRESSIONAL BUSINESS UNTIL YOU HAVE THE RESULTS FROM AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION WITH AN INDEPENDENT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR THAT YOU APPOINT TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE TRUMP HIS CABINET AND ANY CONGRESS PEOPLE FOR ANY CRIMINAL OR TREASONOUS TIES TO RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN OUR GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Like (462)
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    This administration is doing more to hurt our earth than any other before it! There will be more and more need for FEMA especially with polluting Pruitt at the helm of the EPA
    Like (79)
    Follow
    Share
    to prevent natural disasters, we need to aggressively address global warming with a carbon emissions tax and with a bold green infrastructure plan (smart grid, car charging stations, subsidies for solar, wind, etc)
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    Wait, so because of an issue with the Sponsor's District misuse of FEMA funds he's wanting to change the law? How about localities stop using FEMA money for purposes other than intended! On first glance this seems like a good idea, but there is no evidence given for why it's needed and while the cost says it's $500,000 to make the change it seems this will just allow larger amounts to be used for improper purposes since they would fall under the threshold. More government transparency might lessen the need for these restrictions in the first place.
    Like (34)
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    I am skeptical about republicans wanting to increase funding for something they have repeatedly voted against when disasters have happened. I would need more information about why they want the cap lowered.
    Like (33)
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    FEMA is a better use of my tax dollars than so much other nonsense (massive "defense" budget, maralago, etc). Get it together!
    Like (25)
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    I'm for getting relief to people more easily and reducing red tape bureaucracy.
    Like (13)
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    We need to get the crook of a president out of office first.
    Like (12)
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    Just the other day, I read about how we are yet again approaching the debt ceiling, so why are is congress considering increasing our spending instead of cutting back? If you want to help with "small" disasters, how about we avoid a major disaster by not devaluing our currency further?
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    Where will the Federal Government money trough end? Have you ever noticed that pigs are always seeking food. Obviously, the Flint MI lead water catastrophe was a self-induced man make disaster. To save money, the Democrat controlled city made a decision to switch its water supply which effected older utility pipes. My call? Buck up Flint, raise taxes. Your fault. Oh my, you can't raise taxes, then seek county or state aid. Did you forget, they are also broke? My call is a Federal loan. Free has become a nasty word with taxpayers. We have FEMA for national disasters. Didn't Flint have insurance? Addendum: Flint, Michigan, will replace its crumbling pipes by 2020 to settle a lawsuit over its lead-contaminated water crisis. Under a settlement agreement filed in federal court Monday, the city will conduct the sweeping infrastructure project using state and federal funds. They've agreed to dig up services lines at 18,000 homes and replace lines made of lead and galvanized steel.
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    This is pork legislation. Instead of throwing money at the problem, how about you fix the appropriations process? Isn't this what conservatives hate?
    Like (7)
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    Given the increasing frequency & severity of natural disasters brought on by climate change (yes! Sen Rubio. You may not like reality but it will bite you in the ass anyway!), FEMA needs maximum flexibility to address the growing needs of communities. The million acre wildfire in the Midwest recently destroyed land, lives and businesses. Since our idiot president & idiot legislators have decided that denial is a better stance than addressing the issue, FEMA must be constantly ready to rescue citizens whose elected government has decided they are expendable!
    Like (6)
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    Making needed disaster funds available seems like a good idea.
    Like (5)
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    This is a State issue The Federal government need to get out of the hole first before spending more money besides the State can do it better less pork vote NO!!!
    Like (4)
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    The money has to come from somewhere if it is saved up and spent accordingly and conservatively then great. We are gambling lives when we don't have a effective budget, plan, or organization. Most of the time we can plan for a disaster or at least save up for one.
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    No that is what insurance is there for or private donation.
    Like (3)
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    As someone who used to live in a floodplain, I can attest to how valuable this assistance can be. On that note - it would be great if FEMA was more proactive in floodplain management by providing communities with help in reducing flood risk with elevation assistance. This would save costs and mitigate flood risk, something I think a lot of us are going to be dealing with in the future.
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    The first order of business should be the cleanup of the disaster we currently have in Washington, DC.
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