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116th Congress   }                                      {   Rept. 116-339
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                      {       Part 1

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



 
               HAZARD ELIGIBILITY AND LOCAL PROJECTS ACT

                                _______
                                

 December 12, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2548]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2548) to modify eligibility 
requirements for certain hazard mitigation assistance programs, 
and for other purposes, 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.........................................................     2
Legislative History and Consideration............................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     6
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     6
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     6
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     6
Preemption Clarification.........................................     6
 Advisory Committee Statement....................................     7
 Applicability to Legislative Branch.............................     7
 Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation, as Amended......     7
 Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported...........     7
 Committee Correspondence........................................     7

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects 
Act''.

SEC. 2. AUTHORITY TO BEGIN IMPLEMENTATION OF ACQUISITION OR RELOCATION 
                    PROJECTS.

  (a) Eligibility for Assistance for Initiated Projects.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
        an entity seeking assistance under a hazard mitigation 
        assistance program shall be eligible to receive such assistance 
        for a covered project if the entity--
                  (A) complies with all other eligibility requirements 
                of the hazard mitigation assistance program for 
                acquisition or relocation projects, including 
                extinguishing all incompatible encumbrances; and
                  (B) complies with all Federal requirements for the 
                project.
          (2) Costs incurred.--An entity seeking assistance under a 
        hazard mitigation assistance program shall be responsible for 
        any project costs incurred by the entity for a covered project 
        if the covered project is not awarded, or is determined to be 
        ineligible for, assistance.
  (b) Applicability.--This section shall apply to any application for 
assistance for a covered project submitted on or after January 1, 2016.
  (c) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions apply:
          (1) Covered project.--The term ``covered project'' means--
                  (A) an acquisition or relocation project for which an 
                entity began implementation prior to grant award under 
                a hazard mitigation assistance program; and
                  (B) a project for which an entity initiated planning 
                or construction before or after requesting assistance 
                for the project under a hazard mitigation assistance 
                program qualifying for a categorical exemption under 
                the National Environmental Policy Act.
          (2) Hazard mitigation assistance program.--The term ``hazard 
        mitigation assistance program'' means--
                  (A) the predisaster hazard mitigation grant program 
                authorized under section 203 of the Robert T. Stafford 
                Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 
                5133);
                  (B) the hazard mitigation grant program authorized 
                under section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster 
                Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170c); 
                and
                  (C) the flood mitigation assistance program 
                authorized under section 1366 of the National Flood 
                Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4104c).

                         PURPOSE OF LEGISLATION

    The purpose of H.R. 2548, as amended, is to modify 
eligibility requirements for certain hazard mitigation 
assistance programs.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Under current federal law, local, and state agencies 
applying for federal funding to begin certain Hazard Mitigation 
Grant Program (HMGP)-funded projects must wait until they 
receive approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
(FEMA) before purchasing land or beginning construction on said 
projects. Purchasing land or beginning construction absent full 
approval from FEMA will disqualify a project from receiving 
HMGP assistance. This process prevents simple land acquisition 
and mitigation projects from starting, further delaying the 
recovery of disaster-impacted communities and improvements in 
community resilience. This legislation will expedite the start 
of certain types of projects following Presidentially-declared 
disasters while waiting for FEMA's full approval.

                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress, the following hearing was used to develop or 
consider H.R. 2548:
    On May 22, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, 
Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a hearing 
titled, ``Disaster Preparedness: DRRA Implementation and FEMA 
Readiness.'' Witnesses included: Dr. Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy 
Administrator for Resilience, FEMA; Ms. Sima Merick, Executive 
Director, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, testifying on 
behalf of the National Emergency Management Association; Mr. 
Nick Crossley, Director, Hamilton County Ohio Emergency 
Management and Homeland Security Agency, testifying on behalf 
of the International Association of Emergency Managers; Mr. 
James Gore, Supervisor, County of Sonoma, California, 
testifying on behalf of the National Association of Counties; 
Mr. Al Davis, Deputy Director, Texas A&M Engineering Extension 
Service, testifying on behalf of the National Domestic 
Preparedness Consortium; and Mr. Randy Noel, President, Reve, 
Inc., testifying on behalf of the National Association of Home 
Builders. Topics discussed included the state of federal 
disaster preparedness and mitigation programs since the 
enactment of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (Division 
D of P.L. 115-254) and the status of federal disaster recovery 
assistance funding authorized in the wake of significant 
disaster activity in 2017 and 2018.

                 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND CONSIDERATION

    H.R. 2548 was introduced in the House on May 7, 2019, by 
Mrs. Fletcher, Mr. Olson, Mr. Butterfield, and Mr. Meadows, and 
referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
and in addition to the Committee on Financial Services. Within 
the Committee, H.R. 2548 was referred to the Subcommittee on 
Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency 
Management.
    The Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, 
and Emergency Management was discharged from further 
consideration of H.R. 2548 on June 26, 2019.
    The Full Committee met in open session to consider H.R. 
2548 on June 26, 2019 and ordered the measure to be reported to 
the House with a favorable recommendation, as amended, by voice 
vote with a quorum present.
    The following amendment was offered:
    An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Mrs. 
Fletcher (#1); was AGREED TO, without amendment, by voice vote.

                            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. 2548.

                      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. 2548, as amended, 
from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 25, 2019.
Hon. Peter A. DeFazio,
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. 2548, the Hazard 
Eligibility and Local Projects Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.
    
    

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers 
several grant programs that provide assistance to state and 
local governments, as well as residential and commercial 
property owners, in an effort to mitigate damages that may be 
caused by future disasters. In fiscal year 2018, the Congress 
provided appropriations for those programs as follows:
           $540 million for the Hazard Mitigation Grant 
        (HMG) program;
           $249 million for the Predisaster Mitigation 
        (PDM) program; and
           $175 million for the Flood Mitigation 
        Assistance (FMA) program.
    H.R. 2548 would expedite the approval of grants for certain 
property acquisition and relocation projects that are funded by 
those programs. The bill would require FEMA to approve grants 
for all applications submitted under those programs--including 
those submitted after January 1, 2016--if a project satisfies 
the following two conditions:
           The project is for acquisition or relocation 
        of a vulnerable property, regardless of whether the 
        applicant initiated planning or construction before or 
        after applying for assistance;\1\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Under current law, grants generally cannot be used for project 
costs that the applicant incurs prior to a grant being awarded; 
applicants who begin work on a project before a grant has been awarded 
are disqualified from the application process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
           The project is exempt from environmental 
        review requirements under the National Environmental 
        Policy Act (NEPA).
    Over the 2014-2018 period, FEMA received nearly 9,000 
applications for grants under the three mitigation programs and 
provided awards to between 1,100 and 1,500 applicants each year 
over that period. Using information from FEMA, CBO estimates 
that less than 1 percent of those grants (about 50 projects 
each year) were awarded to acquisition or relocation projects 
that are exempt from review under NEPA. Additionally, CBO 
estimates that roughly 5 applications each year were denied 
awards because work on the projects began before the applicant 
had been approved for a grant.
    H.R. 2548 would affect direct spending because it would 
require FEMA to approve grants submitted after January 1, 2016, 
that under current law have been denied. Using information 
about the number of applications received and approved since 
2016, CBO estimates that about 20 projects would meet the 
bill's criteria and be retroactively approved for grants. CBO 
assumes H.R. 2548 will be enacted near the end of 2019 and that 
any budgetary effects would begin in 2020. Accordingly, CBO 
estimates FEMA would provide awards for the otherwise 
disqualified grants in 2020 and 2021 at an estimated cost of 
$17 million. That estimate is based on the average award amount 
over the past five years of $840,000 per project.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. The 
estimate was reviewed 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 is to 
expedite the commencement of post-disaster mitigation projects.

                    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. 2548 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.

   CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKS, LIMITED TAX BENEFITS, AND LIMITED TARIFF 
                                BENEFITS

    In compliance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of the rule 
XXI.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES 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 finds that H.R. 2548, 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 were created by this 
legislation.

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation 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 THE LEGISLATION, AS AMENDED

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that the bill may be cited as the 
``Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act''.

Sec. 2. Authority to begin planning and construction of certain hazard 
        mitigation projects

    Subsection (a) describes the requirements for eligibility 
for assistance under the act, which include compliance with the 
requirements of the hazard mitigation assistance program and 
other federal requirements. Subsection (b) states that the 
section shall apply to any application for hazard mitigation 
assistance for a covered project submitted on or after January 
1, 2016. Subsection (c) of this section provides definitions 
for the terms ``covered project'' and ``hazard mitigation 
assistance program''.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 2548, as amended, makes no changes in existing law.

                        COMMITTEE CORRESPONDENCE

                          House of Representatives,
                           Committee on Financial Services,
                                 Washington, DC, December 11, 2019.
Hon. Peter A. DeFazio,
Chairman, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing concerning H.R. 2548, the 
Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act. In order to permit 
H.R. 2548 to proceed expeditiously to the House Floor, I agree 
to forgo formal consideration of the bill.
    The Committee on Financial Services takes this action to 
forego formal consideration of H.R. 2548 with our mutual 
understanding that, by foregoing formal consideration of H.R. 
2548, we do not waive any jurisdiction over the subject matter 
contained in this or similar legislation, and that our 
Committee will be appropriately consulted and involved as this 
or similar legislation moves forward with regard to any matters 
in the Committee's jurisdiction. I appreciate your commitment 
to work with the Committee to address any outstanding issues as 
the bill is considered in the Senate. The Committee also 
reserves the right to seek appointment of an appropriate number 
of conferees to any House-Senate conference involving this or 
similar legislation that involves the Committee's jurisdiction 
and request your support for any such request.
    Finally, I would appreciate your response to this letter 
confirming this understanding, and I would ask that a copy of 
our exchange of letters on this matter be included in the 
Congressional Record during Floor consideration of H.R. 2548.
            Sincerely,
                                             Maxine Waters,
                                                        Chairwoman.
                              ----------                              

                          House of Representatives,
            Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
                                 Washington, DC, December 11, 2019.
Hon. Maxine Waters,
Chairwoman, Committee on Financial Services,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairwoman Waters: Thank you for your letter regarding 
H.R. 2548, the Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act, which 
was ordered to be reported out of the Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure on June 26, 2019. I 
appreciate your willingness to work cooperatively on this 
legislation.
    I acknowledge that by foregoing formal consideration on 
H.R. 2548, the Committee on Financial Services does not waive 
any future jurisdictional claims to provisions in this or 
similar legislation, and that your Committee will be consulted 
and involved on any matters in your Committee's jurisdiction 
should this legislation move forward. In addition, should a 
conference on the bill be necessary, I would support your 
effort to seek appointment of an appropriate number of 
conferees to any House-Senate conference involving provisions 
within this legislation on which the Committee on Financial 
Services has a valid jurisdictional claim.
    I appreciate your cooperation regarding this legislation, 
and I will ensure that our exchange of letters is included in 
the Congressional Record during floor consideration of H.R. 
2548.
            Sincerely,
                                          Peter A. DeFazio,
                                                             Chair.