The U.S. House of Representatives recently advanced the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), which proposes broad reforms at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
DRRA, introduced by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), was included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, H.R. 4.
DRRA would increase the emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation to reduce the potential for future loss of life and address the rising costs of disasters. For example, the legislation would increase the federal investment and focus on pre-disaster flood and hurricane mitigation to fund projects such as flood proofing hospitals, emergency operations and first responder bases of operation, and protecting critical infrastructure and utilities.
“America needs a better system that saves lives and taxpayer dollars by building stronger, more resilient infrastructure before disaster strikes,” Rep. Barletta said. “We cannot afford to continue spending tens of billions of dollars on disasters like we did last year. It’s time for us to help communities across the nation build better and build smarter by incentivizing pre-disaster mitigation. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act will do just that and will save the federal government $4 to $8 on the back end for every $1 spent on the front end.”
Barletta, speaking on the House floor, noted that his own home district was devastated by flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.
H.R. 4 also includes an amendment offered by Barletta that would establish a new grant program for infrastructure investments in small and medium sized airports.