Maui News

Sen. Schatz Backs Legislation To Reform Disaster Recovery

July 22, 2021, 4:20 PM HST
* Updated July 22, 3:26 PM
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US Senator Schatz Brian. PC: Official headshot

US Senators Brian Schatz, D-Hawai‘i, was one of five US Senators who introduced legislation today that helps streamline the recovery process for disasters-struck communities.

“Right now, the law mandates that communities in crisis wait for Congress to pass a disaster funding bill before they can even apply for help from HUD,” said Sen. Schatz, Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee.

This bill removes that wait time.

“As soon as a disaster strikes, HUD can help communities begin the process of recovery,” Schatz said.

The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act would strengthen the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) disaster recovery grants for states, local governments and tribes. It would also improve coordination at the federal level by establishing an office within HUD that would be devoted to disaster recovery and resilient communities.

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“Our bipartisan legislation would allow communities to immediately focus on helping families and local businesses recover instead of navigating the federal bureaucracy in the wake of a natural disaster,” said Sen. Collins, R-Maine.

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The bill accelerates assistance to disaster-impacted communities by:

  • Creating a disaster recovery fund to allow HUD to predictably assist communities without waiting for Congress to act on each event;
  • Authorizing HUD to issue regulations to codify program requirements and reduce unnecessary red tape, delays, and unpredictability that stems from the current Federal Register notice process;
  • Supporting resilience as a part of – rather than separate from – disaster recovery;
  • Authorizing “quick release” funds to support grantee capacity right after an event; and
  • Reducing unnecessary administrative burdens and interagency requirement conflicts.

US Senators involved were Brian Schatz, D-Hawai‘i, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Todd Young, R-Ind., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., introduced legislation today that helps expedite the recovery process for major community disasters.

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