Summary: H.R.2707 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (10/21/1988)

(Measure passed Senate, amended)

Title I: Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments - Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1988 - Renames the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 as the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Amends such Act to eliminate the congressional intent to provide a long-range economic recovery program for major disaster areas as a means of assistance to State and local governments.

Amends such Act to revise the definition of an emergency to mean any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, and lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe. Provides that a major disaster means any natural catastrophe. (Currently, both definitions specify types of emergencies and disasters.)

Increases the maximum amount that may be authorized for grants to States for plans for disaster preparedness programs.

Reorganizes existing titles III, IV, and V of such Act (major disaster and emergency assistance administration, major disaster assistance programs, and emergency assistance programs, respectively) and makes various technical and conforming changes.

Provides that Federal major disaster and emergency assistance and comparable assistance provided by States, local governments, and disaster assistance organizations shall not be considered as income or a resource when determining benefit levels under federally funded income assistance or resource-tested benefit programs.

Requires the President to establish comprehensive standards to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of major disaster and emergency assistance programs under this Act.

Establishes penalties for the misuse of funds and the violation of provisions under this Act. Authorizes the Attorney General to seek relief in an appropriate United States district court.

Declares that any person who intentionally causes a condition for which Federal assistance is provided under this Act is liable to the United States for the reasonable costs incurred by the United States in responding to the disaster or emergency, to the extent that the costs are attributable to the negligent or intentional act or omission of the person. Requires an action for reasonable costs to be brought in an appropriate U.S. district court. Declares that a person is not liable for costs incurred by the United States as a result of actions taken or omitted by such person in the course of rendering care or assistance in response to a major disaster or emergency.

Directs the President to conduct audits and investigations as necessary to assure compliance with this Act.

Authorizes the President to make loans and advances to eligible applicants for the non-Federal share of costs incurred during a disaster.

Prohibits preclusion of a geographic area from receiving assistance solely by virtue of an arithmetic formula or sliding scale based on income or population.

Authorizes the President to prescribe rules and regulations as necessary to carry out this Act.

Declares the Federal share of providing essential assistance after a major disaster to be 75 percent.

Provides for the use of Department of Defense resources during the immediate aftermath of an incident which may ultimately qualify for assistance at the request of a Governor of an affected State. Limits such assistance to ten days. Declares the Federal share of such assistance to be not less than 75 percent.

Authorizes the President to contribute up to 50 percent of the cost of hazard mitigation measures which substantially reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by a major disaster.

Includes associated expenses of State or local governments or owners of private nonprofit facilities as authorized costs for which the President may make contributions for the repair, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement of a public facility which is damaged or destroyed by a major disaster. Sets forth the minimum Federal share for such assistance. Declares that such assistance may not be used for any required State or local government cost-sharing contribution.

Provides for reducing Federal assistance to any public facility or private nonprofit facility located in a specified flood hazard area that is not covered by flood insurance after the 180th day following the date of enactment of this Act.

Provides for determining the net eligible costs and associated expenses of repairing, restoring, reconstructing, or replacing a public or private nonprofit facility.

Makes private nonprofit facilities eligible for debris removal assistance.

Requires the President to issue rules which provide for the recognition of differences existing among urban, suburban, and rural lands to facilitate adequate removal of debris and wreckage from large lots. Declares the Federal share of assistance for debris removal to be 75 percent.

Provides for temporary housing assistance for up to 18 months after the date of a major disaster. Authorizes the President to extend such 18-month period due to extraordinary circumstances. Declares the Federal share of such assistance to be 100 percent of eligible costs.

Authorizes the President to make temporary mortgage and rental payments (limited to 18 months) on behalf of individuals and families who, as a result of financial hardship caused by a major disaster, have received written notice of dispossession or eviction from a residence by reason of a foreclosure, cancellation of a contract of sale, or termination of any lease entered into prior to such disaster.

Sets forth notification requirements for the President when persons apply for temporary housing assistance, including: (1) all forms of assistance available; (2) criteria that must be met to qualify for each type of assistance; (3) limitations which apply to each type of assistance; and (4) the address and telephone number of offices responsible for assisting applicants.

Requires that housing assistance account for the applicant's location of and travel time to: (1) the applicant's place of business; (2) schools which family members may attend; (3) any home or place of business whose destruction or damage is the result of the major disaster which created the need for assistance; and (4) crops or livestock the applicant tends which provide 25 percent or more of the applicant's annual income.

Authorizes the President to pay unemployment assistance to any individual unemployed as a result of a major disaster for the weeks of unemployment for which the individual is not entitled to any other unemployment compensation. Limits the payment of such assistance to 26 weeks (currently, one year).

Requires States to provide reemployment assistance services, without reimbursement under this Act, to individuals who receive Federal unemployment assistance. Authorizes the President to provide reemployment assistance services to individuals who reside in States that do not provide such services.

Includes in the individual and family grant program an authorization for the President to make grants to States for individuals and families adversely affected by a major disaster for meeting disaster-related necessary expenses or serious needs in cases where such individuals or families are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other means.

Authorizes a State to expend up to five percent (currently, three percent) of any such grant for administrative expenses. Increases the limitation on such grants for families and individuals from $5,000 to $10,000. Requires the Governor of a State to administer the individual and family grant program.

Repeals the restriction that crisis counseling be provided only through the National Institute of Mental Health.

Provides that if certain costs under this Act are estimated at less than $35,000 (currently, $25,000), then the President may make the contribution for such costs based on the estimate.

Provides that appeals arising from assistance decisions must be acted upon within 60 days of the receipt of such appeal.

Declares that eligibility for Federal disaster assistance begins on the date of the occurrence of the disaster except that expenses which are incurred in anticipation of such disaster may be eligible for Federal assistance.

Declares that disaster assistance shall not be restricted to limit assistance to a particular geographic area.

Declares the Federal share for emergency assistance to be 100 percent.

Requires payments for assistance under this Act to be completed within 60 days after the date of approval.

Directs the President to recommend to the Congress proposals to improve the operational and fiscal relationships that exist among Federal, State, and local major disaster and emergency management officials.

Title II: Great Lakes Damage Assistance and Prevention - Great Lakes Planning Assistance Act of 1988 - Authorizes the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance to Great Lakes States in the establishment of State programs to reduce and prevent damage attributable to high water levels in the Great Lakes. Authorizes the Director to make one-time grants for: (1) preparation of plans for mitigation, warning, emergency operations, and emergency assistance; (2) coordination of available State and Federal assistance; (3) development and implementation of nonstructural measures to reduce or prevent damage attributable to high water levels in the Great Lakes; and (4) assistance to local governments in developing and implementing plans for nonstructural reduction and prevention of damage attributable to high water levels in the Great Lakes. Authorizes the Director to provide technical assistance for such activities. Requires State matching of such grants with non-Federal funds of 25 percent of the amount of the grant. Authorizes appropriations for such grants.

Requires the Army Corps of Engineers to provide technical and other assistance.

Great Lakes Coastal Barrier Act of 1988 - Amends the Coastal Barrier Resources Act to include in the Coastal Barrier Resources System those coastal barriers of the Great Lakes that are recommended by the Secretary of the Interior to the Congress for review under the Act.

Directs the Secretary to recommend to the Congress undeveloped coastal barriers along the Great Lakes that are appropriate for inclusion in the Coastal Barrier Resources System.

Prohibits the Secretary from recommending any area which is publicly owned and protected by Federal or State law, or held by a qualified organization primarily for wildlife refuge, sanctuary, recreational, or natural resource conservation purposes.

Directs the Secretary, before making the recommendations, to consult with Federal agencies, States bordering on the Great Lakes, and the public.

Gives the Congress 90 days after the Secretary submits the boundaries of the coastal barriers to review the boundaries. Declares that, after those 90 days and subject to modification by law, the barriers designated by the Secretary shall be included in the Coastal Barrier Resources System.

Directs the Secretary to review the System maps at least once every five years and make modifications to reflect changes occurring as a result of natural forces. Requires that reviews be made in consultation with appropriate States, coastal zone management agencies, Federal agencies, and the public.

States that limitations on Federal expenditures under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act shall not apply to highways located within Michigan if the Congress adds new units to the Coastal Barrier Resources System, and those units include portions of U.S. or State highways in Michigan.

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Amends the Water Resources Development Act of 1974 to increase the authorization of appropriations for the New York Harbor collection and removal of drift project.

Amends the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 1988 to revise the description of that portion of the Hudson River in New York County, New York, that is not a part of the federally authorized channel deepening project.