Daniel Webster

10/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2021 12:36

Rep. Daniel Webster & Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Communities Prepare for and Respond to Disasters

Webster & Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Communities Prepare for and Respond to Disasters

Washington, DC - Florida Congressman Daniel Webster (R-Clermont) along with Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), and Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Dina Titus (D-NV) today introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen disaster mitigation and resilience programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Resilient Assistance for Mitigation for Environmentally Resilient Infrastructure and Construction by Americans Act, or Resilient AMERICA Act, will:

  • Return unspent funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which ensures that these expiring and unspent funds will still help our communities prepare for and respond to disasters.
  • Double the funding stream dedicated to FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation program.
  • Extend eligibility for Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) to include private non-profits (PNPs), which ultimately will reduce the impact and damage from a disaster.
  • Expand the reach of the post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to prevent utility outages in the face of extreme wildfire, wind, tsunami, and ice events.
  • Fund residential resilience retrofit block grants to states, tribes, and territories to strengthen homes for maximum protection and safety.

"Florida is no stranger to natural disasters. Our communities face unique challenges when it comes to mitigation and maintaining resilient infrastructure. The Resilient AMERICA Act builds upon reforms and lessons learned to ensure smarter funding for pre-disaster mitigation. By investing in common sense mitigation activities, this bill will save taxpayer money, protect our communities by proactively mitigating risk, and saving lives," Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Webster said. "Studies have repeatedly shown for each dollar of mitigation investment, disaster costs can be reduced by as much as $11. The status quo is not working, and it's past time to flip the equation in favor of protection and savings. This bill is a big step in the right direction to achieve that goal."

"It's abundantly clear that climate change is making extreme weather more intense and severe. The federal government needs to be prepared and able to lend a helping hand to communities trying to bounce back," Chair DeFazio said. "This bipartisan legislation will help make sure communities across Oregon, and throughout the country, have the resources and support they need to recover and be better prepared for the next time disaster strikes."

"In North Missouri, we've witnessed major flooding displace families, ruin homes, and destroy acres of farmland. Natural disasters don't just require a swift and targeted response, but also thoughtful preparation to ensure we save lives and stop devastation," Ranking Member Sam Graves said. "The Resilient AMERICA Act improves federal mitigation efforts that will help limit the severity of damage when disaster strikes."

"Accelerating climate change is making disasters like wildfires, storms, and flash floods more dangerous and more expensive. This year has already produced eighteen separate climate and weather disasters costing $1 billion." Subcommittee Chair Titus said. "The Resilient America Act will invest in pre-disaster mitigation efforts and climate resiliency which will protect communities and save taxpayers money by reducing the amount of damage after a disaster strikes."

###