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115th Congress    }                                   {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                   {         115-31

======================================================================

 
TO REQUIRE THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY 
  TO SUBMIT A REPORT REGARDING CERTAIN PLANS REGARDING ASSISTANCE TO 
APPLICANTS AND GRANTEES DURING THE RESPONSE TO AN EMERGENCY OR DISASTER

                                _______
                                

 March 9, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Shuster, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1117]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1117) to require the Administrator 
of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to submit a report 
regarding certain plans regarding assistance to applicants and 
grantees during the response to an emergency or disaster, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of Legislation...........................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     4
Legislative History and Consideration............................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     6
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     6
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     6
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     7
Advisory of Earmarks.............................................     7
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     7
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     7
Federal Mandate Statement........................................     7
Preemption Clarification.........................................     8
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     8
Applicability of Legislative Branch..............................     8
Section-by-Section Analysis of Legislation.......................     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     8
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. ACTION PLAN TO IMPROVE FIELD TRANSITION.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency (FEMA) shall report to the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate regarding the 
plans the agency will undertake to provide the following:
          (1) Consistent guidance to applicants on FEMA disaster 
        funding procedures during the response to an emergency or 
        disaster.
          (2) Appropriate record maintenance and transfer of documents 
        to new teams during staff transitions.
          (3) Accurate assistance to applicants and grantees to ease 
        the administrative burden throughout the process of obtaining 
        and monitoring assistance.
  (b) Maintaining Records.--The report shall also include a plan for 
implementing operating procedures and document retention requirements 
to ensure the maintenance of appropriate records throughout the 
lifecycle of the emergency or disaster.
  (c) New Technologies.--Finally, the report shall identify new 
technologies that further aid the disaster workforce in partnering with 
State, local, and tribal governments and private nonprofits in the wake 
of a disaster or emergency to educate, assist, and inform applicants on 
the status of their emergency or disaster assistance applications and 
projects.

                         PURPOSE OF LEGISLATION

    H.R. 1117, as amended, would require the Administrator of 
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to submit a 
report regarding the development of an action plan relating to 
guidance provided to disaster assistance applicants and 
grantees, the transition of field personnel, maintenance of 
records, and the use of technology to facilitate the delivery 
of assistance and ease the administrative burden.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

Federal Emergency Management Agency: History

    FEMA was established in 1979 by Executive Order 12148 by 
President Jimmy Carter in response to a number of massive 
disasters in the 1960's and 1970's. As a result of states 
trying to manage these disasters, the National Governors 
Association and others made a proposal to streamline and cut 
the number of agencies states were required to work with 
following a disaster. Prior to the creation of FEMA, the 
federal government's emergency response mechanisms were 
scattered among many agencies throughout government. The 
creation of FEMA helped to centralize these authorities and the 
coordination of the federal government's response to a 
disaster. The Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-288), which 
constituted the statutory authority for most federal disaster 
response activities, especially of FEMA, was later amended by 
the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
Act, also known as the Stafford Act (P.L. 100-707).
    Following more than two decades as an independent agency, 
the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) created the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), placed FEMA within DHS, 
and FEMA's functions were dispersed among various offices and 
directorates within DHS. In 2006, following Hurricanes Katrina 
and Rita and the subsequent intensive Congressional 
investigations and oversight, Congress enacted the Post-Katrina 
Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA) (P.L. 109-
295), which addresses key response roles and authorities and 
put FEMA back together again within DHS. PKEMRA authorized the 
National Preparedness System and FEMA for the first time in 
legislation. Most recently, Congress enacted the Sandy Recovery 
Improvement Act (SRIA) (P.L. 113-2), on January 29, 2013, in 
the wake of Hurricane Sandy's impact to the East Coast. SRIA 
provided additional authorities to expedite and streamline 
Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, reduce costs, and improve the 
effectiveness of several disaster assistance programs 
authorized by the Stafford Act.

Disaster response and recovery

    When the President declares a major disaster or emergency, 
the official declaration triggers certain federal response 
authorities and financial disaster assistance. In particular, 
when a declaration is made, the President is authorized to 
direct any federal agency, with or without reimbursement, to 
assist state, tribal, and local governments and protect life 
and property. FEMA is responsible for coordinating federal 
agency response and ensuring the necessary federal capabilities 
are deployed at the appropriate place and time in support of 
state, tribal, and local response efforts. In addition, FEMA 
provides direct support and financial assistance to states, 
tribes, and local governments and individuals as authorized 
under the Stafford Act.
    A significant portion of FEMA's response and recovery 
capabilities resides in its Reservist\1\ workforce and Cadre of 
On-Call Response/Recovery Employees (COREs).\2\ FEMA Reservist 
and CORE personnel predominantly makes up FEMA's ``disaster 
workforce,'' providing services at FEMA headquarters, regional 
offices, and disaster Joint Field Offices, in the immediate 
lead-up to, during, and after an emergency or major disaster.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\FEMA Reservists are a type of Incident Management responder, 
hired under the Stafford Act as temporary, intermittent employees. They 
are a significant FEMA Incident Management work component, staffing 
Joint Field Offices and other activities. These employees, when listed 
as available, can deploy to perform disaster field activities directly 
related to specific disasters, emergencies, projects, or activities of 
a non-continuous nature. Reservists are a necessary augmentation of 
permanent full-time staffing. (Source: https://www.fema.gov/reservist-
program)
    \2\FEMA CORE employees are hired under the Stafford Act to work for 
a specific, limited period and function. FEMA CORE employees may be 
renewed if there is ongoing disaster work and funding is available. 
(Source: https://careers.fema.gov/cadre-call-responserecovery)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

H.R. 1117 improving field transitions and requiring consistent guidance

    Despite disaster investigations, multiple Office of 
Inspector General and General Accountability Office reports, 
and amended legislative authorities, the Committee continues to 
hear about challenges with FEMA's disaster workforce. State, 
tribal, and local emergency managers raise concerns about 
frequent turnover, the loss of paperwork, and inconsistent 
guidance which results in project delays, increased 
administrative expenses, frustration, and, in the worst-cases, 
the loss of recovery funds that are ultimately recouped by 
FEMA.
    FEMA has implemented several new technologies for its full-
time managers and staff, but it does not appear that the same 
efforts have been undertaken for field and temporary disaster 
response and recovery personnel and its disaster workforce. 
H.R. 1117, as amended, requires the Administrator to develop an 
action plan for issuing consistent guidance to applicants, 
ensuring the maintenance of appropriate records, and easing the 
administrative burden of obtaining and monitoring assistance 
from FEMA. FEMA must articulate an action plan for implementing 
proper operating procedures and document retention requirements 
in the field to ensure the maintenance of appropriate records 
throughout the lifecycle of the disaster. Finally, FEMA must 
identify new technologies that would further aid the disaster 
workforce in partnering with state, local and tribal 
governments and private non-profits in the wake of a disaster 
or emergency.
    In August of 2013, central Missouri experienced flooding, 
straight line winds, and storms and consequently, received a 
federal disaster declaration. In the years that have followed, 
recovery has been slowed by numerous, unorganized transitions 
of FEMA personnel, lost paperwork by FEMA personnel, and 
conflicting information from state and federal officials. 
Several major recovery projects still continue to languish. The 
intent of the requirements in this bill is to improve the 
efficiency of response and recovery operations and to improve 
the interaction between FEMA and state, tribal, and local 
grantees.
    In recent storms, including Hurricane Matthew and flooding 
and tornadoes, the Committee is aware of challenges related to 
guidance provided to local governments on debris removal, 
emergency protective measures, and the construction of 
temporary facilities. Specifically, the lack of consistent 
guidance and direction given to communities on debris removal 
continues to be cited as a significant obstacle to recovery. 
The Agency's report should include how FEMA will provide 
detailed, consistent guidance to applicants and sub-applicants 
at each stage of a disaster, from initial response to recovery, 
to speed community recovery and improve the efficiency of the 
delivery of disaster assistance.
    The Committee expects the report to detail how the Agency 
will provide consistent guidance and accurate information 
following a disaster. Specifically, it should address how FEMA 
will improve disaster field operations and staff transitions 
by:
     Providing consistent guidance to applicants on 
FEMA disaster funding procedures during the response to an 
emergency or disaster, including debris removal, emergency 
protective measures and temporary structures.
     Conducting appropriate record maintenance and 
transfer of documents to new teams during staff transitions.
     Providing accurate assistance to applicants and 
grantees to ease the administrative burden throughout the 
process of obtaining and monitoring assistance.
     Implementing operating procedures and document 
retention requirements to ensure the maintenance of appropriate 
records throughout the lifecycle of the disaster.
     Identifying new technologies that further aid the 
disaster workforce in partnering with State, local, and tribal 
governments and private nonprofits in the wake of a disaster to 
educate, assist, and inform applicants on the status of their 
disaster assistance applications.

                                HEARINGS

    The Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, 
and Emergency Management, held the following hearings and 
roundtable discussions on subjects related to matters contained 
in H.R. 1117, as amended, during the 114th Congress:
    ``Rebuilding after the Storm: Lessening Impacts and 
Speeding Recovery'' held on January 27, 2015. The purpose of 
the hearing was to launch an assessment of the rising costs of 
disasters, the cost effectiveness of disaster assistance, 
strategies to reduce disaster losses, and the appropriate roles 
of government and the private sector, and to consider reforms 
to save lives through improved alert and warning systems and 
search and rescue.
    ``What is Driving the Increasing Costs and Rising Losses 
from Disasters?'' held on March 18, 2015. The purpose of the 
roundtable was to examine and discuss data related to disaster 
costs, the trends observed over time, and the projections for 
the future given the policies in place today.
    ``The State of Pennsylvania and FEMA Region III are Leaders 
in Mitigating Disaster Costs and Losses'' held on May 28, 2015. 
The purpose of the roundtable was to examine disaster costs and 
losses, focus on hazards impacting Pennsylvania and the region, 
and identify best practices for mitigating and avoiding 
disaster impacts.
    ``Federal Disaster Assistance: Roles, Programs and 
Coordination'' held on June 17, 2015. The purpose of the 
roundtable was to examine and discuss federal disaster 
assistance programs, the requirements and effectiveness of 
those programs, and coordination among various agencies and 
stakeholders.
    ``Controlling the Rising Cost of Federal Responses to 
Disaster'' held on May 12, 2016. The purpose of the hearing was 
to begin exploring potential solutions and the principles that 
should be driving solutions to lower the overall costs of 
disasters and to help avoid devastating losses.

                 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND CONSIDERATION

    On February 16, 2017, Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) 
introduced H.R. 1117, a bill to require the Administrator of 
the Federal Emergency Management Agency to submit a report on 
certain plans regarding assistance to applicants and grantees 
during the response to an emergency or disaster.
    On February 28, 2017, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure met in open session to consider H.R. 1117. The 
Committee considered and adopted one amendment by voice vote--a 
technical amendment offered by Subcommittee Chairman Lou 
Barletta (R-PA). The Committee ordered the bill, as amended, 
reported favorably to the House by voice vote with a quorum 
present.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each committee report to include the 
total number of votes cast for and against on each record vote 
on a motion to report and on any amendment offered to the 
measure or matter, and the names of those members voting for 
and against. There were no recorded votes taken in connection 
with consideration of H.R. 1117, as amended, or ordering the 
measure reported. A motion to order H.R. 1117, as amended, 
reported favorably to the House was agreed to by voice vote 
with a quorum present.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

               NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the 
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is 
included in this report.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1117, as amended, 
from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, March 6, 2017.
Hon. Bill Shuster,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1117, a bill to 
require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency to submit a report regarding certain plans regarding 
assistance to applicants and grantees during the response to an 
emergency or disaster.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1117--A bill to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency 
        Management Agency to submit a report regarding certain plans 
        regarding assistance to applicants and grantees during the 
        response to an emergency or disaster

    H.R. 1117 would require the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency (FEMA) to submit a report to the Congress on the 
agency's plans to provide consistent and accurate guidance and 
assistance to applicants for disaster funding. The bill also 
would require FEMA to include in the report a plan to 
effectively maintain records related to disaster funding and to 
identify technologies that would assist individuals, 
organizations, and communities when recovering from major 
disasters.
    Based on information provided by FEMA, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 1117 would cost less than $500,000 in 2018; 
such spending would be subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    Enacting H.R. 1117 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 1117 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1117 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
performance goal and objective of this legislation, as amended, 
is to require the Administrator of the FEMA to submit a report 
regarding the development of an action plan relating to 
guidance provided to disaster assistance applicants and 
grantees, the transition of field personnel, record maintenance 
and the use of technology to facilitate the delivery of 
assistance and ease the administrative burden.

                          ADVISORY OF EARMARKS

    Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee is required to include a list 
of congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of 
rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives. No 
provision in the bill, as amended, includes an earmark, limited 
tax benefit, or limited tariff benefit under clause 9(e), 9(f), 
or 9(g) of rule XXI.

                    DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 1117, as amended, establishes or reauthorizes a program 
of the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                  DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTED RULE MAKINGS

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 115th Cong. (2017), 
the Committee finds that enacting H.R. 1117, as amended, does 
not direct the completion of a specific rule making within the 
meaning of section 551 of title 5, United States Code.

                       FEDERAL MANDATE STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee states that H.R. 1117, as amended, 
does not preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act are created by this 
legislation.

                  APPLICABILITY OF LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation, as amended, does 
not relate to the terms and conditions of employment or access 
to public services or accommodations within the meaning of 
section 102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act 
(Public Law 104-1).

               SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF LEGISLATION

Section 1. Action plan to improve field transition

    Section 1 requires the Administrator of FEMA to provide a 
plan for the development of consistent guidance to applicants 
on FEMA disaster funding, the maintenance of records and 
transfer of information, relieving administrative burdens, and 
the implementation of new technology tools during disaster 
response and recovery operations in the field.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 1117, as amended, makes no changes in existing law.

                                  [all]