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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedMarch 22nd, 2017

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    There is no "One size fits all" disaster. Common Sense please!
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    I have endured many storms and needs the past few years living near Florence, SC. I takes forever to get help and if you need it you will wait and be a pain to get it. I think this should be a vote that takes little time to
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    This sounds like a bill designed to get You votes, Rodney. But buried in there is the number of previous disasters an area has had , which would usually eliminate the aid one more time. If you really care aboutIllinois , work to completely and totally eliminate fracking in a state that sits atop a major fault line that is overdue to blow. We will really have disasters in Illinois if fracking continues and no amount of dollars will be sufficient to rebuild roads, businesses, homes of those affected by a major earthquake caused by fracking. And poisoned water is not going to be cheap to work on, either. Forget the superficial fix. Let's get to the bottom line of the cause of natural disasters: we need to protect the environment and back up the EPA. Think Bigger: support solar and wind power! Support research for alternative energy sources to fuel cars, such as sugar. As used in South America. Think larger.
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    Frankly, am disappointed H.R.1665 passed in the house. While the bill proposes something that sounds beneficial, it is, in reality, an awful idea. The formula the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses is designed to accommodate to cities with higher populations, so that more relief can go to more people per acre. However, with this new bill, a new idea is introduced in which population is not taken into account, or not held at the same value. This means one city with 200 citizens would get the same amount of relief as an actual grieving city with 10,000 citizens. This isn't necessary! Furthermore, the FEMA is a federal system (It even has Federal in the name) and is not responsible for rural state cities. They offer immediate relief within the federal budget. Overall, the formula 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 because they don't require as much as population-dense areas. I understand what is done is done, and that it did pass in the house, however hopefully it won't pass in the senate.
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    As an emergency management researcher, the language of this bill is too vague. It implies that the federal government should give less weight to per capita damage at the state level. If passed, it seems that this bill may have unintended consequences in defunding mitigation and preparedness efforts at the state level that are funded through declarations made only based on state level losses (I.e, in cases where state level impact factors have been exceeded in preliminary damage assessments but no counties qualify). What does "give greater consideration to (...) recent multiple disasters" mean? Does this mean that states would be responsible for meeting deductibles prior to federal aid kicking in, or that impact factors used in preliminary damage assessments would be reduced if another recent disaster has occurred there? In other words, does it increase the amount of fiscal planning states would have to do to cover smaller events and therefore decrease the federal burden? (Which I would support). Or does this simply introduce populist politics and emotional appeals by making the impact factor formulas (which are set based on the consumer price index and used to determine whether a state and local resources have been exceeded) an arbitrary matter? (Which I strongly oppose).
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    Let's give some love to the rural areas! As an Alabamian, the tornadoes on April 27, 2011 destroyed many neighborhood homes, and many of those communities just haven't recovered. Let's hope this change does some good.
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    There is no federal authority for disaster aid. Each state needs to take care of itself and each community. We need to look to each other for support and not people 1500 miles away. They are spending our own money on our needs, which if they would have left for us to keep, we could have saved for an emergency.
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    why would anyone oppose funding an organization to help people? its ridiculous.
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    What else would you do?
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    The intent of this bill seems to be to get reporting from a federal agency. Shouldn't need legislation for that. Each locality and state is responsible for responding to disasters and emergencies and can call for FEMA assistance when needed. As I recall, FEMA regularly does preplanning with regions based on the anticipated types of emergencies and to be able to preposition asserts for quick deployment. This bill looks like a Representative grandstanding for his constituents. No vote
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    More attention to disasters and care for people is important.
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    We need to defund FEMA. Local communities should be responsible for disasters. I've lived in a community where no FEMA dollars have been allocated. Get the federal government out of the disaster business. Give the money to the states.
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    As someone who's community was recently devastated by a tornado, and who's city didn't receive any state or federal funding, we absolutely do need to change the scope of how FEMA reacts to certain communities.
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    One of the greatest reasons that Trump won the election is because the rural populations of America feel completely abandoned by their federal government. This bill would address that feeling, and give some more credibility back to the federal government. YES, it is a social program. Many other commenters have said that they don't understand why rural people would want a social program, and that they feel that we should withhold money from them until we liberals get the social programs that we want. That is arguably one of the most backwards positions possible. The rural community, seeing the benefits of social programs, may change their mind and see the benefits of social spending, and the power of the government itself. Beyond even that, we have a responsibility to take care of our people regardless of whether they voted red or blue. This bill would take care of people, so I support it.
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    This is a tough bill, however you need to remember that aid is traditionally given by churches and charities, truly not a responsibility of the government.
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    Nay
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    The way this is currently enacted shows great partiality and should be administered by the degree of damage in all areas not select areas only
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    As others have said about this bill, too vague and this plan is lacking an additional proposed formula to make sure the partisan bickering and favoritism doesn't decide who is eligible for help and who isn't. Since joining Countable, I can't believe the amount of poorly written legislation. Why not tweak the criteria or provide an alternative threshold? Either the language is vague for a reason or they are terrible at proposals. Not savvy at all!
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    Nay
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    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.
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