House Homeland Security Committee Questions FEMA Administrator

The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on June 12 with Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and Chris Currie from the Government Accountability Office. Lawmakers asked the witnesses about FEMA’s response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma, the agency’s ability to deal with coming hurricanes, and how emergency shelters are coordinated.

In a heated exchange early in the hearing, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) repeatedly pressed Acting Administrator Gaynor about staffing levels at the agency. Gaynor admitted FEMA was significantly understaffed by a few thousand part-time employees, undermining the agency’s ability to quickly respond to disasters. Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA) raised questions about FEMA’s continued lack of emphasis on long-term home replacement. Other members criticized the slow pace and scope of recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and called out the agency’s failure to acknowledge climate change.

You can view the archived video of the hearing at: