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house Bill H.R. 1665

Should FEMA Give Greater Weight to the Local Effects of Disasters When Reviewing Requests for a Disaster Declaration?

Argument in favor

FEMA shouldn’t use an arbitrary, per capita formula to determine how much federal assistance an area receives when disaster strikes. It’s common sense that FEMA should give greater weight to the localized impact of the disaster.

Jeff's Opinion
···
05/03/2017
To my fellow Americans and our representatives: If the primary reason you stand against giving FEMA greater flexibility in determining aid is because the pen of a Republican drafted this legislation, I would then encourage you to pull your head out of your arse. Let FEMA do their job. Give them the resources to help all Americans. And get over your partisan blindness.
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···
05/03/2017
The disaster relief work the FEMA does is essential. However, they should be respectful of the community and take that community into consideration. It is almost paramount that they should do this instead of completely disregarding small communities in the face ofdisaster. Everyone is hurt during disaster and everyone should be respected as individual human beings and not just humanity or dare I say cattle.
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B.R.'s Opinion
···
05/03/2017
Makes sense to me that FEMA give greater consideration to localized impacts rather than use a per capita formula. However, in addition, perhaps a review of state funding criteria also needs to be done, especially for those states that have repeated disasters.
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Argument opposed

It may not be perfect, but FEMA’s per capita formula for determining disaster awards fairly distributes more funding to areas with greater populations. It’s harsh on rural communities, but that’s how it is.

Cheryl's Opinion
···
05/03/2017
FEMA is a federal agency not a local support program. Their current formula is based on a federal standard that has worked for decades. Also, let's keep in mind that FEMA disaster relief and support is a SOCIAL PROGRAM, which those who voted for tRump don't seem to believe they need. So why would the trumpublicon congress want it to be used more in rural America? One would think that voting yes is hypocritical of those in states that vote red... They have clearly voted to sacrifice all federal support programs in order to get a white supremacist into the presidential palace.
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Joy's Opinion
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05/03/2017
I'm torn on this bill. I realize that rural America feels marginalized and that this is an effort to better help them when they encounter disasters. But I don't think this bill is an effective way to help. A better way to help rural AND urban America would be to require FEMA to understand the size and scope of disasters that climate change is creating and prepare a comprehensive plan to address the most likely scenarios.
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Paul's Opinion
···
05/03/2017
Climate change doesn't exist. There's no need for FEMA in republican states.
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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 May 3rd, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 425 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    IntroducedMarch 22nd, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 1665?

This bill would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to give greater consideration to the local effects of disasters when reviewing state or tribal requests for a major disaster declaration. It would also require FEMA to consider whether there have been multiple recent disasters in an area. Currently, FEMA considers the extent of both statewide and localized damage when deciding whether to recommend that the president issue such a declaration.

FEMA would be required to provide a report to relevant congressional committees within one year that details changes made to its regulations in response to this legislation, and the number of disaster declarations that have been declared based on the new criteria.

Impact

Rural areas affected by disasters; and FEMA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1665

$0.00
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have no additional cost.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced this bill to bring fairness to the disaster declaration process by giving greater weight to the localized impact of a disaster when determining the need for federal assistance:

“Eighteen million dollars is the magic number Illinois has to reach to receive any federal public assistance when a disaster occurs. That amount is nearly double that of any of our neighboring states. Time and time again our rural communities have been denied and unfairly punished by this formula. Illinois taxpayers pay into the Disaster Relief Fund and it should be there when they need it. H.R. 1665 simply requires FEMA to put more weight on the localized impact of a disaster, rather than just an arbitrary, per-capita formula, when considering the need for assistance.”

This legislation was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a voice vote. It has the support of seven bipartisan cosponsors, including six Republicans and one Democrat.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: FEMA / Public Domain)

AKA

Disaster Declaration Improvement Act

Official Title

To ensure that Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency considers severe local impact in making a recommendation to the President for a major disaster declaration.

    To my fellow Americans and our representatives: If the primary reason you stand against giving FEMA greater flexibility in determining aid is because the pen of a Republican drafted this legislation, I would then encourage you to pull your head out of your arse. Let FEMA do their job. Give them the resources to help all Americans. And get over your partisan blindness.
    Like (58)
    Follow
    Share
    FEMA is a federal agency not a local support program. Their current formula is based on a federal standard that has worked for decades. Also, let's keep in mind that FEMA disaster relief and support is a SOCIAL PROGRAM, which those who voted for tRump don't seem to believe they need. So why would the trumpublicon congress want it to be used more in rural America? One would think that voting yes is hypocritical of those in states that vote red... They have clearly voted to sacrifice all federal support programs in order to get a white supremacist into the presidential palace.
    Like (69)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm torn on this bill. I realize that rural America feels marginalized and that this is an effort to better help them when they encounter disasters. But I don't think this bill is an effective way to help. A better way to help rural AND urban America would be to require FEMA to understand the size and scope of disasters that climate change is creating and prepare a comprehensive plan to address the most likely scenarios.
    Like (60)
    Follow
    Share
    Climate change doesn't exist. There's no need for FEMA in republican states.
    Like (38)
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    This bill is too vague to support. Besides, don't Republicans all want to do away with any and all government programs? This is effectively a social program, so until they reinstate programs like meals on wheels, no FEMA money for you, rural America.
    Like (32)
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    The disaster relief work the FEMA does is essential. However, they should be respectful of the community and take that community into consideration. It is almost paramount that they should do this instead of completely disregarding small communities in the face ofdisaster. Everyone is hurt during disaster and everyone should be respected as individual human beings and not just humanity or dare I say cattle.
    Like (18)
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    Share
    I am opposed to any legislation that is being pushed through Congress too fast for members and their constituents to know what is being voted on.
    Like (18)
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    The heaviest impact of disasters is on the local area. Therefore, when FEMA is giving out money it should prioritize it's initial and greatest efforts and expenditures on their the local citizens and businesses that have been directly affected. Quickly resolving local issues and resuming local functions will bring greater local financial stability and enable the local citizenry to begin rapidly contributing once again to the state coffers! Current FEMA policies delay too long this return to functionality. There are much greater overall benefits to be derived from this focus of recovery than are currently derived by the present methods of support systems. Not only will the declaration of disasters be faster, the recovery will be more focused and efficient. Using local damage values will better identify where support is needed for those immediately and directly affected. The local politicians and governments know best where their needs are and monitoring of local actions by authorities can be better achieved. If local authorities screw up the proper handling of funds, they will be directly answerable to their own fellow residents of their communities. FEMA should serve as a data gathering and monitoring agency to ensure proper use of funds according to local needs. To accomplish this effectively, state agencies and FEMA should offer training for local governments in how to manage local actions in case of disaster, offering guidance to both local and state agencies and local governments advice, training resources and data collection services that can assist localities in assessing their performance and developing plans for change and improvements as needed.
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    Torn because the vagueness of the wording leaves it open for FEMA to make adjustments that could be good - but the vagueness could also open up federal disaster relief to partisan squabbling and overly complicated criteria. In general I'm agains bills that require action without clear guidelines or suggestion - thus, I'm a no.
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    Makes sense to me that FEMA give greater consideration to localized impacts rather than use a per capita formula. However, in addition, perhaps a review of state funding criteria also needs to be done, especially for those states that have repeated disasters.
    Like (12)
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    I believe that the per capita method to determine response will treat all cases with the same equity. Moving to a more individual case determination could and likely will inject favoritism, partisan feelings and corruption into the response by the federal government!!!!
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    My small hometown was devastated by flooding. Because they are small they won't receive any help. It doesn't mean they are any less devastated.
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    Disaster is not picky, it affects everyone. So FEMA should offer assistance to everyone.
    Like (8)
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    Either this bill is vague for reasons unknown or you're being vague so that we don't know what the bill is truly about so for now – I'd have to say no.
    Like (4)
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    Does this really require legislation? Shouldn't the management of FEMA be capable of creating a policy and accompanying procedure which would take this into account?
    Like (4)
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    To quote Connie: As others have said about this bill, too vague and this plan is lacking an additional proposed formula to make sure the partisan bickering stays out of who gets help and who doesn't. Tweak the criteria, provide an alternative threshold, something! Since joining Countable, I can't believe the amount of poorly written legislation. Either the language is vague for a reason or they are terrible at proposals. Not savvy at all!
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    This should already be in the basic functions of the director of FEMA and I'm unclear what this bill seeks to accomplish.
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    I'm all for increased granularity when it comes to assessing disasters and am surprised that the affected states and FEMA aren't already doing this. However, very small local disasters should conceivably be managed by state emergency funds and not rise to the occasion of federal disaster. Should local funds prove insufficient to repeated disasters, there should be due investigation into the causes of those disasters, possible mitigation interventions to prevent or lessen the impact of those disasters and whether these states are actually properly funding their own disaster funds. When, however, disaster strikes, there should be mechanisms for appealing for federal assistance in a transparent manner.
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    There is no "One size fits all" disaster. Common Sense please!
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    Fema should be there for any community in trouble
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