The U.S. House of Representatives passed two pieces of disaster recovery legislation on February 8, both sponsored by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R) of Puerto Rico. The bills, which were both unanimously passed last year by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, were reintroduced in January 2022 at the beginning of the new Congress.
The first bill, the “Federal Disaster Assistance Coordination Act,” would create a study group to explore how the process for collecting a preliminary damage assessment – a catalogue of the impacts of a certain event typically needed for the event to be declared a disaster – can be made less burdensome for disaster-impacted areas. The group would also look for ways to speed up the assessment process and distribute responsibilities for the process between different agencies, ensuring the quicker disbursement of assistance.
The second bill, the “Post-Disaster Assistance Online Accountability Act,” would create an online repository of information on federally funded disaster recovery projects, allowing the general public to review information on project cost and location. The repository would cover projects funded by agencies across the federal government, including FEMA, HUD, the Small Business Association (SBA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The webpage would be housed on the USAspending.gov website.
Both bills will now move to the Senate.
Read the “Federal Disaster Assistance Coordination Act” at: https://bit.ly/3XucG36
Read the “Post Disaster Assistance Online Accountability Act” at: https://bit.ly/3HTEZSH