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115th Congress}                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session  }                                            { 115-158

______________________________________________________________________
 
                  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 THE EMERGENCY OR DISASTER

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              TO ACCOMPANY

                               H.R. 1117

[GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


               September 18, 2017.--Ordered to be printed
        
        
        
                              __________
                               

                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE                    
                            WASHINGTON : 2017               
        
        
        
        
        
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  JON TESTER, Montana
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
JOHN HOEVEN, North Dakota            MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
STEVE DAINES, Montana                KAMALA D. HARRIS, California

                  Christopher R. Hixon, Staff Director
                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Chief Counsel
        Natalie F. Enclade, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
                Office of the Inspector General Detailee
               Margaret E. Daum, Minority Staff Director
               Stacia M. Cardille, Minority Chief Counsel
       Charles A. Moskowitz, Minority Senior Legislative Counsel
                    Sue Ramanathan, Minority Counsel
Daniel J. Webb, Minority U.S. Government Accountability Office Detailee
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk



 						    Calendar No. 222

115th Congress}                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session  }                                            { 115-158

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


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 THE EMERGENCY OR 
                                DISASTER

                                _______
                                

               September 18, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, 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 Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which 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 the emergency or 
disaster, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................3
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Act, as Reported.............5

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 1117 requires the Administrator of the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to submit a report regarding 
certain plans to assist applicants and grantees during the 
response to an emergency or disaster. The legislation would 
require the report to include specific plans for providing 
applicants and grantees with consistent guidance on disaster 
funding procedures and accurate assistance to ease the 
administrative burden. Additionally, the legislation 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.

              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

Disaster response and recovery workforce

    A Presidential disaster declaration triggers certain 
Federal response authorities and financial disaster assistance. 
FEMA utilizes a reservist workforce\1\ and Cadre of On-Call 
Response and Recovery Employees (COREs)\2\ to make up the 
disaster workforce. Reservists are incident management 
responders authorized through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster 
Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act).\3\ These 
employees are ``temporary, intermittent employees'' and can be 
``deploy[ed] to perform disaster field activities directly 
related to specific disasters, emergencies, projects, or 
activities of a non-continuous nature.''\4\ FEMA COREs are also 
temporary employees. Although they are time-limited, they ``may 
be renewed if there is ongoing disaster work and funding is 
available.''\5\ This workforce provides services at FEMA 
headquarters, regional offices, and disaster Joint Field 
Offices.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Federal Emergency Management Agency, Introduction to the 
Reservist Program, https://www.fema.gov/reservist-program (last updated 
Apr. 28, 2017).
    \2\Federal Emergency Management Agency, Cadre of On-Call Response/
Recovery, https://careers.fema.gov/cadre-call-responserecovery (last 
visited July 31, 2017).
    \3\Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 
Pub. L. No. 100-707 (1988).
    \4\Federal Emergency Management Agency, Introduction to the 
Reservist Program, https://www.fema.gov/reservist-program (last updated 
Apr. 28, 2017).
    \5\Federal Emergency Management Agency, Cadre of On-Call Response/
Recovery, https://careers.fema.gov/cadre-call-responserecovery (last 
visited July 31, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Improving field transitions by requiring consistent guidance

    While FEMA has implemented several new technologies for its 
full time managers and staff, the temporary staff has not had 
the benefit of the same efforts. The Department of Homeland 
Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government 
Accountability Office have reported on the challenges that 
FEMA's disaster workforce face.\6\ For example, some reservists 
continue to deploy to disasters without the knowledge, skills, 
and training they need to assist survivors effectively.\7\ In 
the immediate aftermath of the 2016 flooding in Louisiana, 
mayors voiced their frustration that FEMA was inept, 
inconsistent, and disorganized.\8\ It was apparent that FEMA 
staff lacked training and knowledge about rules and 
regulations. One Mayor stated that it was ``common knowledge 
that your first interaction with a FEMA employee is more than 
likely to be your last with that same employee.''\9\ Loss of 
paperwork and inconsistent guidance through workforce 
transitions creates project delays, increases administrative 
costs, and in some instances, increases the risk of losing 
recovery funding because of improper documentation.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\See, e.g., Dep't. of Homeland Security Office of Inspector 
General, OIG-16-127-D, FEMA Can Enhance Readiness of its Disaster 
Incident Workforce (Sept. 2, 2016), https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/
GrantReports/2016/OIG-16-127-D-Sep16.pdf [hereinafter OIG-16-127]; 
Gov't Accountability Office, GAO-15-437, Federal Emergency Management 
Agency: Additional Planning and Data Collection Could Help Improve 
Workforce Management Efforts (July 2015), http://www.gao.gov/products/
GAO-15-437.
    \7\OIG-16-127, supra note 6 at 4.
    \8\Oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Response 
to the Baton Rouge Flood Disaster: Hearing Before the H. Comm. On 
Governmental Oversight, 114th Cong. (2016) (statement of I. M. Shelton, 
Mayor, Central, Louisiana at 1) available at https://
oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-09-09-Mayor-
Shelton-Central-LA-Testimony.pdf [hereinafter Shelton Statement]; 
Oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Response to the 
Baton Rouge Flood Disaster: Hearing Before the H. Comm. On Governmental 
Oversight, 114th Cong. (2016) (statement of Gerard Landy, Mayor, Denham 
Springs, Louisiana) available at https://oversight.house.gov/wp-
content/uploads/2016/09/2016-09-09-Mayor-Landry-Denham-Springs-
Testimony-.pdf.
    \9\Shelton Statement, supra note 8 at 1.
    \10\See e.g., Dep't. of Homeland Sec. Office of Inspector General, 
OIG-17-13-D, Summary and Key Findings of Fiscal Year 2015 FEMA Disaster 
Grant and Program Audits 3 (Nov. 29, 2016), https://www.oig.dhs.gov/
sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-13-D-Dec16.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 1117 requires the FEMA Administrator to create an 
action plan to help ease the burdens for disaster victims 
during transitions of temporary employees. The intent of this 
legislation is to improve the efficiency of the response and 
recovery temporary staff by forcing FEMA to articulate a plan 
of action to address the challenges and weaknesses of temporary 
staff. Ultimately, this will allow for greater coordination and 
less risk of projects languishing due to botched transition 
from one temporary disaster employee to another.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Representative Vicki Hartzler (R-MO) introduced H.R. 1117 
on February 16, 2017. The bill passed the House on March 27, 
2017, by a vote of 408-0.
    The Act was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs. The Committee considered H.R. 1117 at 
a business meeting on July 26, 2017. The Committee favorably 
reported the Act by voice vote en bloc. Senators present for 
the vote were Johnson, Portman, Lankford, Daines, McCaskill, 
Tester, Heitkamp, Peters, Hassan, and Harris.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE ACT, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Action plan to improve field transition

    Subsection (a) requires the Administrator of FEMA to submit 
a report containing plans for providing consistent guidance to 
applicants on FEMA disaster funding procedures during the 
response to an emergency or disaster within 90 days of passage. 
Additionally, the report shall outline how FEMA will conduct 
appropriate record maintenance and document transfers to new 
teams during staff transitions and how FEMA will provide 
accurate assistance to applicants and grantees to ease the 
administrative burden throughout the assistance process.
    Subsection (b) requires the report to also include a plan 
for how FEMA will implement operating procedures and 
documenting retention requirements so disaster victims can 
ensure records are appropriately maintained throughout the 
lifecycle of the emergency or disaster.
    Subsection (c) requires the report to identify new 
technologies to aid the disaster workforce in partnership with 
state, local, and tribal governments to educate, assist, and 
inform applicants of the status of their applications and 
projects.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this Act and determined 
that the Act will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the Act contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                                    August 4, 2017.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1117, an act 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--An act 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 act 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.
    On March 6, 2017, CBO transmitted an estimate for H.R. 
1117, as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure on February 28, 2017. The two 
versions of the legislation are similar and CBO's estimates of 
their costs are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE ACT, AS REPORTED

    Because this legislation would not repeal or amend any 
provision of current law, it would not make changes in existing 
law within the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 
of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate.

                                  [all]