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house Bill H.R. 1678

To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act concerning the statute of limitations for actions to recover disaster or emergency assistance payments, and for other purposes.

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 423 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedMarch 22nd, 2017

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Bill Details

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Official Title

To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act concerning the statute of limitations for actions to recover disaster or emergency assistance payments, and for other purposes.

Summary

(Sec. 1) This bill amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to prohibit any administrative action to recover any payment made to a state or local government for disaster or emergency assistance initiated in any forum (with exceptions for fraud) after three years following the transmission of the final expenditure report for project completion, as certified by the grantee (currently, after three years following the transmission of the final expenditure report for the disaster or emergency). Such revised prohibition shall apply to any such payment provided on or after January 1, 2004. Any administrative action to recover such a payment that is pending on the date of enactment of this bill shall be terminated. The bill makes the same report change with respect to the deadline: (1) for any dispute arising under such Act for which there shall be a presumption that accounting records were maintained that adequately identify the source and application of funds provided for financially assisted activities, and (2) by which the inability of the government to produce source documentation supporting expenditure reports shall not constitute evidence to rebut such presumption.
    Without more information regarding what is in this bill, I vote no. This Congress is enacting legislation at a break-neck speed, most of it NOT in the interest of the average citizen.
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    There is not enough detail to understand exactly what this bill does other than prolong the period by which local communities can have to spend down FEMA funds. In my opinion, the current system works fine and should be left alone.
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    If this bill extends the timeframe in which to claim disaster relief, then it's a good thing. It can take time - a surprising amount of time - after a catastrophe for people to recover physically and emotionally and to gather everything they need in order to make any claim for anything, and to see whether any private insurance they may have had is going to deny them coverage.
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    Does this increase the time in which actions can be taken or decrease it? If it increases it, it should move forward because putting a stricter timeline on disaster relief could mean that, in the event of a disaster like the tsunami from the mid 2000s that requires A LOT of relief work, people could potentially go without aid. If it shortens the time, it should be rejected.
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    There is not enough available information. Slow down and focus on things like international incidents.... Has the president even selected a leader for FEMA yet?
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    There is not nearly enough information here to make an informed decision, and it feels like congress in general is pushing through legislation without proper consideration.
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