Text: S.2421 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (08/01/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2421 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 2421

     To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
Assistance Act to improve accountability of disaster contracts, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             August 1, 2019

  Mr. Scott of Florida (for himself and Mr. Lankford) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
               Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
Assistance Act to improve accountability of disaster contracts, and for 
                            other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Disaster Contract Transparency Act 
of 2019''.

SEC. 2. DEBRIS REMOVAL CONTRACT OVERSIGHT.

    (a) In General.--Title IV of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief 
and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170 et seq.) is amended by 
adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 431. PUBLIC ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY AND OVERSIGHT 
              FOR DEBRIS REMOVAL.

    ``(a) Definitions.--In this section--
            ``(1) the term `Administrator' means the Administrator of 
        the Federal Emergency Management Agency;
            ``(2) the term `Agency' means the Federal Emergency 
        Management Agency;
            ``(3) the term `covered State' means a State for which a 
        major disaster or emergency was declared under this Act during 
        the 5-year period preceding the date on which the State 
        requests assistance for debris removal under the public 
        assistance grant program;
            ``(4) the term `covered unit of local government' means a 
        unit of local government for which a major disaster or 
        emergency was declared under this Act during the 5-year period 
        preceding the date on which the State requests assistance for 
        debris removal under the public assistance grant program; and
            ``(5) the term `public assistance grant program' means the 
        public assistance grant program authorized under sections 403, 
        406, 407, 418, 419, 428, and 502(a).
    ``(b) Eligibility.--
            ``(1) In general.--
                    ``(A) Advance contact required.--Except as provided 
                in subparagraph (B), a covered State or covered unit of 
                local government shall not be eligible for assistance 
                for debris removal under the public assistance grant 
                program, including direct Federal assistance for debris 
                removal provided by the Corps of Engineers, unless the 
                covered State or covered unit of local government has 
                in effect, prior to the major disaster or emergency 
                declaration under this Act for which the covered State 
                or covered unit of local government is seeking debris 
                removal assistance, an advance contract for debris 
                removal services that collectively provides adequate 
                coverage, as determined by the Administrator, for 
                debris removal for the entire State.
                    ``(B) Grace period.--Subparagraph (A) shall not 
                apply during the 1-year period beginning on the date on 
                which a State or unit of local government becomes a 
                covered State or covered unit of local government.
            ``(2) Reporting.--For purposes of determining eligibility 
        under paragraph (1), each covered State shall submit, on an 
        annual basis, a report to the Administrator on all advanced 
        contracts in effect for the covered State or covered units of 
        local government within the State, including, for each advanced 
        contract--
                    ``(A) the name of the contractor;
                    ``(B) the contract terms and conditions;
                    ``(C) the reimbursement rates;
                    ``(D) verification and oversight agreements;
                    ``(E) geographic coverage of the contract;
                    ``(F) capacity of contractor; and
                    ``(G) debris removal assets owned by the 
                contractor.
    ``(c) Reimbursement of Debris Removal Contracts.--With respect to 
reimbursing advance contracts for debris removal services described in 
subsection (b), the Administrator shall reimburse for such services at 
the lower of--
            ``(1) the rate of the Federal contract, if any;
            ``(2) the rate of the State advance contract, if any; or
            ``(3) the rate of the unit of local government advance 
        contract.
    ``(d) Penalties for Contractors.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (3), any 
        contractor who breaches or otherwise fails to honor an advance 
        contract for debris removal service entered into with a State 
        or unit of local government shall not be eligible for any 
        Federal reimbursement funds for debris removal services for not 
        less than 10 years after the date on which the advance contract 
        is breached.
            ``(2) Determination of breach.--A determination of whether 
        an advance contract for debris removal service is breached or 
        otherwise not honored under paragraph (1) shall be made by a 
        court of competent jurisdiction.
            ``(3) Waiver of penalty.--The Administrator may waive 
        paragraph (1) if the Administrator determines such waiver is 
        necessary due to--
                    ``(A) a labor or supply shortage; or
                    ``(B) no alternative contractors being available to 
                perform the necessary services.
    ``(e) Oversight.--
            ``(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
        of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall develop 
        and implement guidance and procedures, including clear and 
        unambiguous rules, with respect to the oversight of debris 
        removal contracts entered into under the public assistance 
        grant program, including, at a minimum--
                    ``(A) a requirement that--
                            ``(i) all States and units of local 
                        government receiving debris removal assistance 
                        under the public assistance grant program take 
                        the primary role in the oversight function of 
                        debris removal; and
                            ``(ii) the Agency shall verify compliance 
                        with the requirements of this section and any 
                        regulations promulgated under this section;
                    ``(B) guidance for State and local debris monitors 
                regarding debris removal operations, debris operations 
                oversight, and contractor oversight, including 
                contractor monitoring;
                    ``(C) checklists, job aids, eligibility 
                requirements, contract requirements, debris management 
                planning guidance, and other items, as determined 
                necessary by the Administrator, for State and local 
                debris monitors;
                    ``(D) guidance for State and local debris monitors 
                on how to ensure that subgrant recipients meet the 
                grant requirements and eligibility criteria for the 
                public assistance grant program under which the grant 
                was awarded in all areas of the debris removal 
                operation;
                    ``(E) a list of the specific debris removal 
                monitoring responsibilities expected to be completed by 
                a State for which a public assistance grant program 
                grant is awarded; and
                    ``(F) a list of the specific debris removal 
                monitoring responsibilities expected to be completed by 
                recipients of a subgrant of a grant from a public 
                assistance grant program.
            ``(2) Review and update of guidance and procedures.--The 
        Administrator shall review and update the guidance and 
        procedures required under paragraph (1) as appropriate, but not 
        less frequently than once every 3 years.
            ``(3) Requirements.--
                    ``(A) In general.--In developing the guidance and 
                procedures required under paragraph (1), the 
                Administrator shall--
                            ``(i) except as provided in subparagraph 
                        (B), require that not later than 45 days after 
                        a grant is awarded under the public assistance 
                        grant program for debris removal, and once 
                        every 45 days thereafter for the duration of 
                        the grant, the State shall submit a report to 
                        the Administrator on the progress of the debris 
                        removal; and
                            ``(ii) ensure that oversight of debris 
                        removal operations can be accomplished in all 
                        units of local government of a State in which 
                        debris removal operations are being carried 
                        out, such as through real-time reporting on 
                        operations.
                    ``(B) Waiver of reporting requirement.--The 
                Administrator may waive the reporting requirement 
                described in subparagraph (A)(i), if the Administrator 
                determines, on a case-by-case basis, that such 
                reporting requirement would negatively impact disaster 
                recovery efforts.
    ``(f) Training.--The Administrator shall provide training on 
appropriate debris removal guidance and procedures to--
            ``(1) Agency debris monitors; and
            ``(2) appropriate State and private entities.
    ``(g) Field Presence of Federal Coordinating Officers.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Administrator shall develop a 
        documented risk-based approach for grants awarded under the 
        public assistance grant program that Federal coordinating 
        officers appointed under section 302 can use to determine 
        appropriate cost-effective field presence required for debris 
        removal oversight.
            ``(2) Verifying debris amounts and reimbursement.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The Administrator shall require 
                that any entity applying for debris removal assistance 
                under the public assistance grant program shall, as 
                part of the assistance application, enter into a debris 
                removal monitoring contract to conduct oversight and 
                verification of debris removal by contractors, which 
                shall require that one of the verification methods 
                approved by the Administrator under subparagraph (B) be 
                used to conduct the oversight and verification.
                    ``(B) Verification methods.--For purposes of 
                subparagraph (A), the Administrator shall, on an annual 
                basis, develop and publish a list of approved 
                verification methods, which may include--
                            ``(i) a digital photograph of each load of 
                        debris to validate load tickets;
                            ``(ii) a digital photograph of each truck 
                        used to haul debris to verify truck 
                        certifications; and
                            ``(iii) measurements of debris piles and 
                        mulch piles for comparison and verification 
                        against a photograph described in clauses (i) 
                        and (ii).
            ``(3) Penalties for inaccurate accounting of debris removal 
        amounts.--Any discrepancy between the reported amount of debris 
        collected by a contractor and the verified amount, as 
        determined using an approved verification method under 
        paragraph (2)(B), shall incur a penalty at 2 times the 
        reimbursement rate of the documented discrepancy.''.
    (b) Advance Contracting.--Section 691 of the Post-Katrina Emergency 
Management Reform Act of 2006 (6 U.S.C. 791) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (b), by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) Additional contracts.--If it is determined under 
        subsection (e)(2) that an advanced contract is needed for a 
        good or service described in such subsection, the Administrator 
        shall, to the greatest extent possible, enter into 1 or more 
        advance contracts for that good or service.
            ``(6) Priority.--To the greatest extent possible, the 
        Administrator shall use advance contracts for goods and 
        services before making new post-disaster contract awards for 
        the same or similar goods and services.''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(e) Annual Reports.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
enactment of this subsection, the Administrator shall submit to the 
appropriate committees of Congress a report on advanced contracts that 
contains--
            ``(1) a comprehensive list of advance contracts in effect 
        as of the date the report, which shall include--
                    ``(A) the contracting entity;
                    ``(B) the award amount;
                    ``(C) the good or service being provided under the 
                contract; and
                    ``(D) the duration of the contract; and
            ``(2) a review of the need for advance contracts that may 
        be lacking as of the date of the report for--
                    ``(A) debris removal services;
                    ``(B) prefabricated and portable buildings;
                    ``(C) inspection services;
                    ``(D) installation of power transmission equipment; 
                and
                    ``(E) other goods and services determined by the 
                Administrator to be appropriate for advance 
                contracts.''.
    (c) Effective Date.--Subsections (b) and (c) of section 431 of the 
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as 
added by subsection (a) of this section, shall not take effect until 
the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
                                 <all>

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