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116th Congress }                                            { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session    }                                            { 116-580

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



 
                   FEMA ASSISTANCE RELIEF ACT OF 2020

                                _______
                                

 November 16, 2020.--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. 8266]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 8266) to modify the Federal cost 
share of certain emergency assistance provided under the Robert 
T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, to 
modify the activities eligible for assistance under the 
emergency declaration issued by the President on March 13, 
2020, relating to COVID-19, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of Legislation...........................................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Hearings.........................................................     5
Legislative History and Consideration............................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     7
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     7
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     7
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     7
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     8
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     8
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     8
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     8
Preemption Clarification.........................................     8
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     8
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     8
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     9
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    10

    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 ``FEMA Assistance Relief Act of 2020''.

SEC. 2. COST SHARE.

  (a) Temporary Federal Share.--Notwithstanding sections 403(b), 
403(c)(4), 404(a), 406(b), 408(d), 408(g)(2), 428(e)(2)(B), and 503(a) 
of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act 
(42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.), for any emergency or major disaster declared 
by the President under such Act during the period beginning on January 
1, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020, the Federal share of 
assistance provided under such sections shall be not less than 90 
percent of the eligible cost of such assistance.
  (b) Cost Share Under COVID Emergency Declaration.--Notwithstanding 
subsection (a), assistance provided under the emergency declaration 
issued by the President on March 13, 2020, pursuant to section 501(b) 
of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act 
(42 U.S.C. 5191(b)), and under any subsequent major disaster 
declaration under section 401 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 5170) that 
supersedes such emergency declaration, shall be at a 100 percent 
Federal cost share.

SEC. 3. CLARIFICATION OF ASSISTANCE.

  (a) In General.--For the emergency declared on March 13, 2020 by the 
President under section 501 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief 
and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5191), the President may 
provide assistance for activities, costs, and purchases of States, 
Indian tribal governments, or local governments, including--
          (1) activities eligible for assistance under sections 301, 
        415, 416, and 426 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
        Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5141, 5182, 5183, 5189d);
          (2) backfill costs for first responders and other essential 
        employees who are ill or quarantined;
          (3) increased operating costs for essential government 
        services due to such emergency, including costs for 
        implementing continuity plans, and sheltering or housing for 
        first responders, emergency managers, health providers and 
        other essential employees;
          (4) costs of providing guidance and information to the public 
        and for call centers to disseminate such guidance and 
        information, including private nonprofit organizations;
          (5) costs associated with establishing and operating virtual 
        services;
          (6) costs for establishing and operating remote test sites, 
        including comprehensive community based testing;
          (7) training provided specifically in anticipation of or in 
        response to the event on which such emergency declaration is 
        predicated;
          (8) personal protective equipment and other critical supplies 
        and services for first responders and other essential 
        employees, including individuals working in public schools, 
        courthouses, law enforcement, and public transit systems;
          (9) medical equipment, regardless of whether such equipment 
        is used for emergency or inpatient care;
          (10) public health costs, including provision and 
        distribution of medicine and medical supplies;
          (11) costs associated with maintaining alternate care 
        facilities or related facilities currently inactive but related 
        to future needs tied to the ongoing pandemic event;
          (12) costs of establishing and operating shelters and 
        providing services, including transportation, that help 
        alleviate the need of individuals for shelter; and
          (13) costs, including costs incurred by private nonprofit 
        organizations, of procuring and distributing food to 
        individuals affected by the pandemic through networks 
        established by State, local, or Tribal governments, or other 
        organizations, including restaurants and farms, and for the 
        purchase of food directly from food producers and farmers.
  (b) Application to Subsequent Major Disaster.--The activities 
described in subsection (a) may also be eligible for assistance under 
any major disaster declared by the President under section 401 of such 
Act (42 U.S.C. 5170) that supersedes the emergency declaration 
described in such subsection.
  (c) Financial Assistance for Funeral Expenses.--For any emergency or 
major disaster described in subsection (a) or (b), the President shall 
provide financial assistance to an individual or household to meet 
disaster-related funeral expenses under section 408(e)(1) of such Act 
(42 U.S.C. 5174(e)).
  (d) Advanced Assistance.--
  (1) In General.--In order to facilitate activities under this 
section, the President, acting through the Administrator of the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency, may provide assistance in advance to an 
eligible applicant if a failure to do so would prevent the applicant 
from carrying out such activities.
  (2) Annual Report.--The Administrator shall submit to the Committee 
on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives 
and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs a 
report on assistance provided in advance pursuant to paragraph (1).
  (3) Audit by Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.--Not 
later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security shall conduct 
a follow-up review of assistance provided in advance pursuant to 
paragraph (1).
  (4) Review.--The audit under paragraph (2) shall include, at a 
minimum--
          (A) a review of the assumptions and methodologies used to 
        determine eligibility for advanced assistance; and
          (B) a determination of whether the advanced assistance was 
        used appropriately.
  (5) Report to Congress.--The Inspector General shall submit to the 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs of the Senate a report on the results of the review carried out 
under this subsection.
  (e) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed 
to make ineligible any assistance that would otherwise be eligible 
under section 403, 408, or 502 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 5170b, 5192).
  (f) State; Indian Tribal Government; Local Government Defined.--In 
this section, the terms ``State'', ``Indian tribal government'', and 
``local government'' have the meanings given such terms in section 102 
of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act 
(42 U.S.C. 5122).

SEC. 4. HAZARD MITIGATION ASSISTANCE.

  For all States or Indian tribal governments, as such terms are 
defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122), receiving an emergency 
declaration on March 13, 2020 by the President under section 501 of the 
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 
U.S.C. 5191), and a major disaster declared by the President under 
section 401 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 5170) that supersedes such emergency 
declaration, the President shall approve the availability of hazard 
mitigation assistance pursuant to section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170c) as part 
of such major disaster declarations, if requested.

SEC. 5. REPORT ON STAFFORD ACT RESPONSE CAPABILITIES.

  Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall seek to 
enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to 
convene a committee of experts to conduct a comprehensive study on the 
use of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) to respond to an emergency which does not 
cause physical damages, such as the emergency declaration issued by the 
President on March 13, 2020, including--
          (1) how non-physical damages can be quantified;
          (2) consideration of any factors that allow for an adjustment 
        of cost shares;
          (3) recommendations to Congress on thresholds or criteria to 
        be met to trigger a future declaration; and
          (4) other items that the Administrator determines necessary 
        to increase future preparedness to such events.

SEC. 6. FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS AND HOUSEHOLDS.

  Section 408(f)(3)(J)(iii) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief 
and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5174(f)(3)(J)(iii)) is amended 
by striking ``2 years'' and inserting ``3 years''.

                         Purpose of Legislation

    The purpose of H.R. 8266, as amended, is to modify the 
Federal cost share of certain assistance provided under the 
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
Act, to modify the activities eligible for assistance under the 
emergency declaration issued by the President on March 13, 
2020, relating to COVID-19, and for other purposes.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
Assistance Act (Stafford Act, P.L. 93-288 as amended) 
authorizes the President to make assistance available via the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to supplement state, 
tribal, territorial, and local (STTL) efforts to respond to and 
recover from an incident that exceeds all available resources 
and overwhelms STTL governments. FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) 
program provides Federal help, typically through reimbursement, 
to STTL governments and certain private non-profit 
organizations for emergency and/or permanent work. PA 
eligibility is based on work and damage which occurred as a 
direct result of the incident that resulted in a Presidential 
declaration of Emergency or Major Disaster. FEMA covers no less 
than 75 percent of the cost of eligible PA projects. The 
Stafford Act and 44 CFR Sec.  206.47 provides the President the 
authority and guidance to adjust the cost share requirement for 
the Public Assistance program.
    Calendar year 2020 has been unprecedented for STTL 
governments facing a record-setting number of natural 
disasters\1\ while simultaneously fighting the COVID-19 
pandemic. Fiscal resources at the STTL levels are being 
impacted by disaster response and public health costs, while 
also facing declines in revenues that fund services for 
healthcare, education, public safety, transportation, and other 
vital programs as a result of necessary measures taken to 
combat COVID-19 and slow its spread.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National 
Centers for Environmental Information, ``Billion-Dollar Weather and 
Climate Disasters: Overview''. Available at https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/
billions/; Thompson, Andrea. Scientific American. ``A Running List of 
Record-Breaking Natural Disasters in 2020''. Available at https://
www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-running-list-of-record-breaking-
natural-disasters-in-2020/.
    \2\Davidson, Kate and David Harrison. Wall Street Journal. 
``Coronavirus-Hit State Budgets Create a Drag on U.S. Recovery''. 
August 12, 2020. Available at https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-
hit-state-budgets-create-a-drag-on-u-s-recovery-11597224600.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 8266, as amended, increases the Federal share from 75 
percent to not less than 90 percent for emergencies and 
disasters declared by the President in calendar year 2020. 
Further, for COVID-19-related declarations--for which the 
President invoked Section 501(b) of the Stafford Act, which 
explicitly states ``the United States exercises exclusive or 
preeminent responsibility and authority''--the bill increases 
the Federal share to 100 percent.
    Additionally, the bill clarifies eligibility for certain 
services and activities undertaken to combat COVID-19 and 
protect public health, including personal protective equipment 
(PPE) and disinfecting services for front-line public sector 
employees and facilities, including first responders, 
courthouses, public schools, and public transit.
    Given the lack of physical damages during COVID-19, the 
bill, as amended, also directs FEMA to enter into an agreement 
with the National Academy of Sciences to convene a committee to 
conduct a study on the use of the Stafford Act to respond to an 
event which does not cause physical damages. The results of 
this study could help to inform the use of Stafford Act 
authorities for future events without physical damages and 
whether any policy or legislative reforms may be necessary.
    Finally, the bill authorizes FEMA to provide assistance in 
advance in certain circumstances. FEMA must provide reports to 
the Committee when this occurs and the Inspector General of the 
Department of Homeland Security is required to audit such 
assistance.

                                Hearings

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress--
          (1) The following hearing was used to develop or 
        consider H.R. 8266;
    On October 22, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a 
hearing entitled ``An Assessment of Federal Recovery Efforts 
from Recent Disasters.'' The Subcommittee received testimony 
from Mr. Jeffrey Byard, Associate Administrator, Office of 
Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 
Department of Homeland Security; Mr. Dennis Alvord, Deputy 
Assistant Secretary, Economic Development Administration, U.S. 
Department of Commerce; Mr. Chris P. Currie, Director, Homeland 
Security and Justice, U.S. Government Accountability Office; 
Mr. Mike Sprayberry, Director, Emergency Management, Department 
of Public Safety, State of North Carolina, testifying on behalf 
of the National Emergency Management Association; Hon. Fernando 
Gil-Ensenat, Secretary, Department of Housing, Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico; Ms. Rhonda Wiley, Emergency Management/911 
Director/Floodplain Administrator, Atchison County, State of 
Missouri; and Mr. Reese C. May, Chief Strategy and Innovation 
Officer, The Saint Bernard Project. The Department of Housing 
and Urban Development submitted a statement for the record.
          (2) The following related hearings were held:
    On March 11, 2020, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a 
hearing entitled ``FEMA's Priorities for 2020 and Beyond: 
Coordinating Mission and Vision.'' The Subcommittee received 
testimony from Hon. Peter T. Gaynor, Administrator, Federal 
Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.

                 Legislative History and Consideration

    H.R. 8266 was introduced in the House on September 16, 
2020, by Mr. DeFazio and 34 original cosponsors and referred to 
the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
    Within the Committee, H.R. 8266 was referred to the 
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and 
Emergency Management.
    On September 30, 2020, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management was 
discharged from further consideration of H.R. 8266.
    The Committee met in open session on September 30, 2020, to 
consider H.R. 8266, and ordered the measure to be reported to 
the House with a favorable recommendation, as amended, by voice 
vote.
    The following amendments were offered:
    An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Mr. 
DeFazio (#1); was AGREED TO, as amended, by voice vote.
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Ms. Mucarsel-Powell (#1A) was AGREED TO by voice 
vote.
    Page 5 after line 22, insert a new section entitled ``Sec 
4. Hazard Mitigation Assistance.''
    An en bloc amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a 
Substitute offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1B) was NOT 
AGREED TO by voice vote. Consisting of the following 
amendments:
    An amendment--Page 2, line 5, strike ``shall be at a 100 
percent Federal cost share'' and insert ``may be at a 100 
percent Federal cost share in any area that has experienced a 
severe local impact or recent multiple major disasters or 
emergencies, applying the same considerations as carried out by 
the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
under section 1232 of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 
(42 U.S.C. 5170 note) and as determined appropriate by the 
Administrator''.
    An amendment--Page 1, line 14, strike the period and insert 
``in any area that has experienced a severe local impact or 
recent multiple major disasters or emergencies in accordance 
with section 1232 of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 
(Public Law 115-254), as determined by the Administrator of the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency.''
    An amendment--On page 5, after line 22, insert a new 
section entitled ``Sec. 4. Local Impact.''
    An amendment--Page 2, strike line 20 and all that follows 
through page 3, line 6 and insert the following:

(3) reasonable increased operating costs for essential government 
services directly due to such emergency, including costs for 
implementing continuity plans, and sheltering or housing for first 
responders, emergency managers, health providers, and other essential 
employees;
(4) costs of providing guidance and information to the public and for 
call centers to disseminate such guidance and information, including 
private nonprofit organizations;
(5) reasonable costs associated with establishing and operating virtual 
services directly due to such emergency;

    An amendment--On page 5, after line 22, insert new sections 
entitled ``Sec. 4. Definitions.''; Sec. 5. Removal of Debris 
Resulting from a Major Disaster in Residential Common Interest 
Communities.''; ``Sec. 6. Condominiums and Housing Cooperatives 
by a Major Disaster.''; and ``Sec. 6. Applicability.''
    An en bloc amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a 
Substitute offered by Mr.Graves of Louisiana (#1C) was AGREED 
TO by voice vote. Consisting of the following amendments:
    An amendment--Page 5, after line 12, insert the following 
new subsections: ``(3) Audit by Department of Homeland Security 
Inspector General.''; ``(4) Review.''; and ``(5) Report to 
Congress.''
    An amendment--Page 3, line 16, insert ``law enforcement,'' 
before ``and''.
    An amendment--On page 5, after line 22, insert a new 
section entitled ``Sec. 4. Report on Stafford Act Response 
Capabilities.''
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1D) was NOT AGREED TO by 
voice vote.
    At the end of the bill add new sections entitled ``Sec. 4. 
Unmet Need Assistance.''; ``Sec. 5. Repair and Rebuilding.''; 
and ``Sec. 6. Review by Comptroller General.''
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1E) was NOT AGREED TO by 
voice vote.
    Page 5, after line 22, insert a new section entitled ``Sec. 
4. Duplication of Benefits.''
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1F) was AGREED TO by voice 
vote.
    Page 5, after line 22, insert a new section entitled ``Sec. 
4. Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households.''

                            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. 8266, as amended.

                      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

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements 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 requested 
but not received a cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of Congressional Budget Office. The Committee has 
requested but not received from the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office a statement as to whether this bill 
contains any new budget authority, spending authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax 
expenditures. The Chairman of the Committee shall cause such 
estimate and statement to be printed in the Congressional 
Record upon its receipt by the Committee.

               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, a cost 
estimate provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant 
to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 was not 
made available to the Committee in time for the filing of this 
report. The Chairman of the Committee shall cause such estimate 
to be printed in the Congressional Record upon its receipt by 
the Committee.

                    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 reduce 
the financial burden on state, tribal, local, and territorial 
governments by increasing the Federal cost share for all 
disasters declared during calendar year 2020.

                    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. 8266, 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

    An estimate of federal mandates prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act was not made available to the 
Committee in time for the filing of this report. The Chairman 
of the Committee shall cause such estimate to be printed in the 
Congressional Record upon its receipt by the Committee.

                        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. 8266, 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


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that this bill may be cited as the 
``FEMA Assistance Relief Act of 2020''.

Sec. 2. Cost share

    This section states that the Federal share of assistance 
provided pursuant to sections 403(b), 403(c)(4), 404(a), 
406(b), 408(d), 408(g)(2), 428(e)(2)(B), and 503(a) of the 
Stafford Act for any emergency or major disaster declared by 
the President between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 
shall be not less than 90 percent of the eligible cost of such 
assistance. The section also states that assistance provided 
under the emergency declaration issued by the President on 
March 13, 2020, pursuant to section 501(b) of the Stafford Act 
and any subsequent major disaster declaration under section 401 
of the Act that supersedes such emergency declaration, shall be 
at a 100 percent Federal cost share.

Sec. 3. Clarification of assistance

    This section clarifies that the President may provide 
assistance for activities, costs, and purchases of states, 
tribal governments, territorial, or local governments, 
including but not limited to, backfill costs for first 
responders and other essential employees who are ill or 
quarantined, increased operating costs for essential government 
services, costs of providing guidance and information to the 
public, costs associated with establishing and operating 
virtual services, costs for establishing and operating remote 
test sites, personal protective equipment and other critical 
supplies and services for first responders--including law 
enforcement--and other essential employees, including 
individuals working in public schools, courthouses, and public 
transit systems, medical equipment, public health costs, and 
costs associated with maintaining alternate care facilities. 
Additionally, it requires limited Federal assistance to cover 
funeral costs of COVID-19-related deaths.

Sec. 4. Hazard Mitigation assistance

    This section approves Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 
assistance for all states and tribal governments that applied 
for such assistance as part of their major disaster declaration 
request to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sec. 5. Report on Stafford Act response capabilities

    This section directs the FEMA Administrator to enter into 
an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to convene a 
committee to conduct a study on the use of the Stafford Act to 
respond to an emergency which does not cause physical damages.

Sec. 6. Federal assistance to individuals and households

    This section amends Section 408(f)(3)(J)(iii) of the 
Stafford Act by extending the FEMA Administrator's authority to 
implement pilot programs and waive notice and comment 
rulemaking from two years to three years, with a new expiration 
date of October 5, 2021.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

    ROBERT T. STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE IV--MAJOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 408. FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS AND HOUSEHOLDS.

  (a) In General.--
          (1) Provision of assistance.--In accordance with this 
        section, the President, in consultation with the 
        Governor of a State, may provide financial assistance, 
        and, if necessary, direct services, to individuals and 
        households in the State who, as a direct result of a 
        major disaster, have necessary expenses and serious 
        needs in cases in which the individuals and households 
        are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other 
        means.
          (2) Relationship to other assistance.--Under 
        paragraph (1), an individual or household shall not be 
        denied assistance under paragraph (1), (3), or (4) of 
        subsection (c) solely on the basis that the individual 
        or household has not applied for or received any loan 
        or other financial assistance from the Small Business 
        Administration or any other Federal agency.
  (b) Housing Assistance.--
          (1) Eligibility.--The President may provide financial 
        or other assistance under this section to individuals 
        and households to respond to the disaster-related 
        housing needs of individuals and households who are 
        displaced from their predisaster primary residences or 
        whose predisaster primary residences are rendered 
        uninhabitable, or with respect to individuals with 
        disabilities, rendered inaccessible or uninhabitable, 
        as a result of damage caused by a major disaster.
          (2) Determination of appropriate types of 
        assistance.--
                  (A) In general.--The President shall 
                determine appropriate types of housing 
                assistance to be provided under this section to 
                individuals and households described in 
                subsection (a)(1) based on considerations of 
                cost effectiveness, convenience to the 
                individuals and households, and such other 
                factors as the President may consider 
                appropriate.
                  (B) Multiple types of assistance.--One or 
                more types of housing assistance may be made 
                available under this section, based on the 
                suitability and availability of the types of 
                assistance, to meet the needs of individuals 
                and households in the particular disaster 
                situation.
  (c) Types of Housing Assistance.--
          (1) Temporary housing.--
                  (A) Financial assistance.--
                          (i) In general.--The President may 
                        provide financial assistance to 
                        individuals or households to rent 
                        alternate housing accommodations, 
                        existing rental units, manufactured 
                        housing, recreational vehicles, or 
                        other readily fabricated dwellings. 
                        Such assistance may include the payment 
                        of the cost of utilities, excluding 
                        telephone service.
                          (ii) Amount.--The amount of 
                        assistance under clause (i) shall be 
                        based on the fair market rent for the 
                        accommodation provided plus the cost of 
                        any transportation, utility hookups, 
                        security deposits, or unit installation 
                        not provided directly by the President.
                  (B) Direct assistance.--
                          (i) In general.--The President may 
                        provide temporary housing units, 
                        acquired by purchase or lease, directly 
                        to individuals or households who, 
                        because of a lack of available housing 
                        resources, would be unable to make use 
                        of the assistance provided under 
                        subparagraph (A).
                          (ii) Lease and repair of rental units 
                        for temporary housing.--
                                  (I) In general.--The 
                                President, to the extent the 
                                President determines it would 
                                be a cost-effective alternative 
                                to other temporary housing 
                                options, may--
                                          (aa) enter into lease 
                                        agreements with owners 
                                        of multifamily rental 
                                        property impacted by a 
                                        major disaster or 
                                        located in areas 
                                        covered by a major 
                                        disaster declaration to 
                                        house individuals and 
                                        households eligible for 
                                        assistance under this 
                                        section; and
                                          (bb) make repairs or 
                                        improvements to 
                                        properties under such 
                                        lease agreements, to 
                                        the extent necessary to 
                                        serve as safe and 
                                        adequate temporary 
                                        housing.
                                  (II) Improvements or 
                                repairs.--Under the terms of 
                                any lease agreement for 
                                property entered into under 
                                this subsection, the value of 
                                the improvements or repairs 
                                shall be deducted from the 
                                value of the lease agreement.
                          (iii) Period of assistance.--The 
                        President may not provide direct 
                        assistance under clause (i) with 
                        respect to a major disaster after the 
                        end of the 18-month period beginning on 
                        the date of the declaration of the 
                        major disaster by the President, except 
                        that the President may extend that 
                        period if the President determines that 
                        due to extraordinary circumstances an 
                        extension would be in the public 
                        interest.
                          (iv) Collection of rental charges.--
                        After the end of the 18-month period 
                        referred to in clause (iii), the 
                        President may charge fair market rent 
                        for each temporary housing unit 
                        provided.
          (2) Repairs.--
                  (A) In general.--The President may provide 
                financial assistance for--
                          (i) the repair of owner-occupied 
                        private residences, utilities, and 
                        residential infrastructure (such as a 
                        private access route) damaged by a 
                        major disaster to a safe and sanitary 
                        living or functioning condition; and
                          (ii) eligible hazard mitigation 
                        measures that reduce the likelihood of 
                        future damage to such residences, 
                        utilities, or infrastructure.
                  (B) Relationship to other assistance.--A 
                recipient of assistance provided under this 
                paragraph shall not be required to show that 
                the assistance can be met through other means, 
                except insurance proceeds.
          (3) Replacement.--
                  (A) In general.--The President may provide 
                financial assistance for the replacement of 
                owner-occupied private residences damaged by a 
                major disaster.
                  (B) Applicability of flood insurance 
                requirement.--With respect to assistance 
                provided under this paragraph, the President 
                may not waive any provision of Federal law 
                requiring the purchase of flood insurance as a 
                condition of the receipt of Federal disaster 
                assistance.
          (4) Permanent housing construction.--The President 
        may provide financial assistance or direct assistance 
        to individuals or households to construct permanent or 
        semi-permanent housing in insular areas outside the 
        continental United States and in other locations in 
        cases in which--
                  (A) no alternative housing resources are 
                available; and
                  (B) the types of temporary housing assistance 
                described in paragraph (1) are unavailable, 
                infeasible, or not cost-effective.
  (d) Terms and Conditions Relating to Housing Assistance.--
          (1) Sites.--
                  (A) In general.--Any readily fabricated 
                dwelling provided under this section shall, 
                whenever practicable, be located on a site 
                that--
                          (i) is complete with utilities;
                          (ii) meets the physical accessibility 
                        requirements for individuals with 
                        disabilities; and
                          (iii) is provided by the State or 
                        local government, by the owner of the 
                        site, or by the occupant who was 
                        displaced by the major disaster.
                  (B) Sites provided by the president.--A 
                readily fabricated dwelling may be located on a 
                site provided by the President if the President 
                determines that such a site would be more 
                economical or accessible.
          (2) Disposal of units.--
                  (A) Sale to occupants.--
                          (i) In general.--Notwithstanding any 
                        other provision of law, a temporary 
                        housing unit purchased under this 
                        section by the President for the 
                        purpose of housing disaster victims may 
                        be sold directly to the individual or 
                        household who is occupying the unit if 
                        the individual or household lacks 
                        permanent housing.
                          (ii) Sale price.--A sale of a 
                        temporary housing unit under clause (i) 
                        shall be at a price that is fair and 
                        equitable.
                          (iii) Deposit of proceeds.--
                        Notwithstanding any other provision of 
                        law, the proceeds of a sale under 
                        clause (i) shall be deposited in the 
                        appropriate Disaster Relief Fund 
                        account.
                          (iv) Hazard and flood insurance.--A 
                        sale of a temporary housing unit under 
                        clause (i) shall be made on the 
                        condition that the individual or 
                        household purchasing the housing unit 
                        agrees to obtain and maintain hazard 
                        and flood insurance on the housing 
                        unit.
                          (v) Use of gsa services.--The 
                        President may use the services of the 
                        General Services Administration to 
                        accomplish a sale under clause (i).
                  (B) Other methods of disposal.--If not 
                disposed of under subparagraph (A), a temporary 
                housing unit purchased under this section by 
                the President for the purpose of housing 
                disaster victims--
                          (i) may be sold to any person; or
                          (ii) may be sold, transferred, 
                        donated, or otherwise made available 
                        directly to a State or other 
                        governmental entity or to a voluntary 
                        organization for the sole purpose of 
                        providing temporary housing to disaster 
                        victims in major disasters and 
                        emergencies if, as a condition of the 
                        sale, transfer, or donation, the State, 
                        other governmental agency, or voluntary 
                        organization agrees--
                                  (I) to comply with the 
                                nondiscrimination provisions of 
                                section 308; and
                                  (II) to obtain and maintain 
                                hazard and flood insurance on 
                                the housing unit.
  (e) Financial Assistance To Address Other Needs.--
          (1) Medical, dental, child care, and funeral 
        expenses.--The President, in consultation with the 
        Governor of a State, may provide financial assistance 
        under this section to an individual or household in the 
        State who is adversely affected by a major disaster to 
        meet disaster-related medical, dental, child care, and 
        funeral expenses.
          (2) Personal property, transportation, and other 
        expenses.--The President, in consultation with the 
        Governor of a State, may provide financial assistance 
        under this section to an individual or household 
        described in paragraph (1) to address personal 
        property, transportation, and other necessary expenses 
        or serious needs resulting from the major disaster.
  (f) State Role.--
          (1) State- or indian tribal government-administered 
        assistance and other needs assistance.--
                  (A) Grant to state.--Subject to subsection 
                (g), a Governor may request a grant from the 
                President to provide assistance to individuals 
                and households in the State under subsections 
                (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e) if the President and 
                the State or Indian tribal government comply, 
                as determined by the Administrator, with 
                paragraph (3).
                  (B) Administrative costs.--A State that 
                receives a grant under subparagraph (A) may 
                expend not more than 5 percent of the amount of 
                the grant for the administrative costs of 
                providing assistance to individuals and 
                households in the State under subsections 
                (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e).
          (2) Access to records.--In providing assistance to 
        individuals and households under this section, the 
        President shall provide for the substantial and ongoing 
        involvement of the States in which the individuals and 
        households are located, including by providing to the 
        States access to the electronic records of individuals 
        and households receiving assistance under this section 
        in order for the States to make available any 
        additional State and local assistance to the 
        individuals and households.
          (3) Requirements.--
                  (A) Application.--A State or Indian tribal 
                government desiring to provide assistance under 
                subsection (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), or (e) shall 
                submit to the President an application for a 
                grant to provide financial assistance under the 
                program.
                  (B) Criteria.--The President, in consultation 
                and coordination with State and Indian tribal 
                governments, shall establish criteria for the 
                approval of applications submitted under 
                subparagraph (A). The criteria shall include, 
                at a minimum--
                          (i) a requirement that the State or 
                        Indian tribal government submit a 
                        housing strategy under subparagraph 
                        (C);
                          (ii) the demonstrated ability of the 
                        State or Indian tribal government to 
                        manage the program under this section;
                          (iii) there being in effect a plan 
                        approved by the President as to how the 
                        State or Indian tribal government will 
                        comply with applicable Federal laws and 
                        regulations and how the State or Indian 
                        tribal government will provide 
                        assistance under its plan;
                          (iv) a requirement that the State or 
                        Indian tribal government comply with 
                        rules and regulations established 
                        pursuant to subsection (j); and
                          (v) a requirement that the President, 
                        or the designee of the President, 
                        comply with subsection (i).
                  (C) Requirement of housing strategy.--
                          (i) In general.--A State or Indian 
                        tribal government submitting an 
                        application under this paragraph shall 
                        have an approved housing strategy, 
                        which shall be developed and submitted 
                        to the President for approval.
                          (ii) Requirements.--The housing 
                        strategy required under clause (i) 
                        shall--
                                  (I) outline the approach of 
                                the State in working with 
                                Federal partners, Indian tribal 
                                governments, local communities, 
                                nongovernmental organizations, 
                                and individual disaster 
                                survivors to meet disaster-
                                related sheltering and housing 
                                needs; and
                                  (II) include the 
                                establishment of an activation 
                                plan for a State Disaster 
                                Housing Task Force, as outlined 
                                in the National Disaster 
                                Housing Strategy, to bring 
                                together State, tribal, local, 
                                Federal, nongovernmental, and 
                                private sector expertise to 
                                evaluate housing requirements, 
                                consider potential solutions, 
                                recognize special needs 
                                populations, and propose 
                                recommendations.
                  (D) Quality assurance.--Before approving an 
                application submitted under this section, the 
                President, or the designee of the President, 
                shall institute adequate policies, procedures, 
                and internal controls to prevent waste, fraud, 
                abuse, and program mismanagement for this 
                program and for programs under subsections 
                (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e). The President shall 
                monitor and conduct quality assurance 
                activities on a State or Indian tribal 
                government's implementation of programs under 
                subsections (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e). If, 
                after approving an application of a State or 
                Indian tribal government submitted under this 
                paragraph, the President determines that the 
                State or Indian tribal government is not 
                administering the program established by this 
                section in a manner satisfactory to the 
                President, the President shall withdraw the 
                approval.
                  (E) Audits.--The Inspector General of the 
                Department of Homeland Security shall provide 
                for periodic audits of the programs 
                administered by States and Indian tribal 
                governments under this subsection.
                  (F) Applicable laws.--All Federal laws 
                applicable to the management, administration, 
                or contracting of the programs by the Federal 
                Emergency Management Agency under this section 
                shall be applicable to the management, 
                administration, or contracting by a non-Federal 
                entity under this section.
                  (G) Report on effectiveness.--Not later than 
                18 months after the date of enactment of this 
                paragraph, the Inspector General of the 
                Department of Homeland Security shall submit a 
                report to the Committee on Homeland Security 
                and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the 
                Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
                of the House of Representatives on the State or 
                Indian tribal government's role to provide 
                assistance under this section. The report shall 
                contain an assessment of the effectiveness of 
                the State or Indian tribal government's role in 
                providing assistance under this section, 
                including--
                          (i) whether the State or Indian 
                        tribal government's role helped to 
                        improve the general speed of disaster 
                        recovery;
                          (ii) whether the State or Indian 
                        tribal government providing assistance 
                        under this section had the capacity to 
                        administer this section; and
                          (iii) recommendations for changes to 
                        improve the program if the State or 
                        Indian tribal government's role to 
                        administer the programs should be 
                        continued.
                  (H) Report on incentives.--Not later than 12 
                months after the date of enactment of this 
                paragraph, the Administrator of the Federal 
                Emergency Management Agency shall submit a 
                report to the Committee on Homeland Security 
                and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the 
                Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
                of the House of Representatives on a potential 
                incentive structure for awards made under this 
                section to encourage participation by eligible 
                States and Indian tribal governments. In 
                developing this report, the Administrator of 
                the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall 
                consult with State, local, and Indian tribal 
                entities to gain their input on any such 
                incentive structure to encourage participation 
                and shall include this information in the 
                report. This report should address, among other 
                options, potential adjustments to the cost-
                share requirement and management costs to State 
                and Indian tribal governments.
                  (I) Prohibition.--The President may not 
                condition the provision of Federal assistance 
                under this Act on a State or Indian tribal 
                government requesting a grant under this 
                section.
                  (J) Miscellaneous.--
                          (i) Notice and comment.--The 
                        Administrator of the Federal Emergency 
                        Management Agency may waive notice and 
                        comment rulemaking with respect to 
                        rules to carry out this section, if the 
                        Administrator determines doing so is 
                        necessary to expeditiously implement 
                        this section, and may carry out this 
                        section as a pilot program until such 
                        regulations are promulgated.
                          (ii) Final rule.--Not later than 2 
                        years after the date of enactment of 
                        this paragraph, the Administrator of 
                        the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
                        shall issue final regulations to 
                        implement this subsection as amended by 
                        the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 
                        2018.
                          (iii) Waiver and expiration.--The 
                        authority under clause (i) and any 
                        pilot program implemented pursuant to 
                        such clause shall expire [2 years] 3 
                        years after the date of enactment of 
                        this paragraph or upon issuance of 
                        final regulations pursuant to clause 
                        (ii), whichever occurs sooner.
  (g) Cost Sharing.--
          (1) Federal share.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (2), the Federal share of the costs eligible to be paid 
        using assistance provided under this section shall be 
        100 percent.
          (2) Financial assistance to address other needs.--In 
        the case of financial assistance provided under 
        subsection (e)--
                  (A) the Federal share shall be 75 percent; 
                and
                  (B) the non-Federal share shall be paid from 
                funds made available by the State.
  (h) Maximum Amount of Assistance.--
          (1) In general.--No individual or household shall 
        receive financial assistance greater than $25,000 under 
        this section with respect to a single major disaster, 
        excluding financial assistance to rent alternate 
        housing accommodations under subsection (c)(1)(A)(i) 
        and financial assistance to address other needs under 
        subsection (e).
          (2) Other needs assistance.--The maximum financial 
        assistance any individual or household may receive 
        under subsection (e) shall be equivalent to the amount 
        set forth in paragraph (1) with respect to a single 
        major disaster.
          (3) Adjustment of limit.--The limit established under 
        paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be adjusted annually to 
        reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for All 
        Urban Consumers published by the Department of Labor.
          (4) Exclusion of necessary expenses for individuals 
        with disabilities.--
                  (A) In general.--The maximum amount of 
                assistance established under paragraph (1) 
                shall exclude expenses to repair or replace 
                damaged accessibility-related improvements 
                under paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of 
                subsection (c) for individuals with 
                disabilities.
                  (B) Other needs assistance.--The maximum 
                amount of assistance established under 
                paragraph (2) shall exclude expenses to repair 
                or replace accessibility-related personal 
                property under subsection (e)(2) for 
                individuals with disabilities.
  (i) Verification Measures.--In carrying out this section, the 
President shall develop a system, including an electronic 
database, that shall allow the President, or the designee of 
the President, to--
          (1) verify the identity and address of recipients of 
        assistance under this section to provide reasonable 
        assurance that payments are made only to an individual 
        or household that is eligible for such assistance;
          (2) minimize the risk of making duplicative payments 
        or payments for fraudulent claims under this section;
          (3) collect any duplicate payment on a claim under 
        this section, or reduce the amount of subsequent 
        payments to offset the amount of any such duplicate 
        payment;
          (4) provide instructions to recipients of assistance 
        under this section regarding the proper use of any such 
        assistance, regardless of how such assistance is 
        distributed; and
          (5) conduct an expedited and simplified review and 
        appeal process for an individual or household whose 
        application for assistance under this section is 
        denied.
  (j) Rules and Regulations.--The President shall prescribe 
rules and regulations to carry out this section, including 
criteria, standards, and procedures for determining eligibility 
for assistance.

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