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Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Advances Several Bills, Including Bipartisan Legislation to Help Communities Rebuild and Recover After Disaster

Washington, D.C., October 27, 2021 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a slate of legislation during a committee markup, including two bipartisan bills to help communities expedite disaster recovery efforts. Legislation approved during today’s markup is now ready for consideration on the House floor.

“Today we made major strides to ensure our communities are better prepared to face disasters and to eliminate the unnecessary hurdles that keep those communities from rebuilding as soon as possible after a disaster hits. Among the bipartisan bills we passed today, my bill, the SPEED Recovery Act and the Resilient AMERICA Act, which I co-introduced, will directly address many of the concerns expressed by local officials in my district and across the country on how to improve our disaster mitigation and recovery efforts, including in small and rural communities. I hope this legislation will move forward swiftly, so we can begin our work toward more effective damage prevention and more efficient response efforts when major disasters strike,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) said.

“As climate change continues to drive more frequent and severe extreme weather events, communities are increasingly in need of additional tools to help them rebuild and recover quickly. They can’t go it alone; the federal government must step up. That’s why our committee approved two important pieces of bipartisan legislation, the Resilient AMERICA Act and the SPEED Recovery Act, that will help communities of all sizes rebuild and strengthen FEMA’s disaster mitigation and resiliency programs. Our committee also passed my bill, the Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act, which will help protect passengers and transportation workers from sexual assault and harassment. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Ranking Member Graves and all members of our committee to move these important bills forward,” Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said.

More information on the committee’s markup can be found here.

Legislation approved today:

H.R. 4042, Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021

On June 22, 2021, Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Subcommittee on Aviation Chair Rick Larsen (D-WA), Representative Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced H.R. 4042, the “Aviation Funding Stability Act of 2021.” The bill has an additional 40 bipartisan cosponsors. This legislation will insulate FAA programs and personnel, and the U.S. aviation industry, from the effects of a future federal government shutdown.

H.R. 5706, Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act

On October 25, 2021, Chair DeFazio (D-OR) introduced the “Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act.” This legislation will help prevent sexual assaults and sexual harassment on airplanes, buses, passenger vessels, commuter and intercity passenger railroads, taxis, and ridesharing vehicles.

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 1066, Wildfire Recovery Act

H.R. 1066, introduced by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), statutorily codifies that Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG), authorized in Sec. 420 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, shall have a federal share of not less than 75%. Additionally, H.R. 1066 requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct and complete a rulemaking to establish criteria that will be used to inform when the FEMA administrator may recommend a cost share adjustment to the president for FMAGs of a certain magnitude. A similar regulatory framework already exists for cost share adjustments to major disasters declared pursuant to the Stafford Act.

H.R. 5641, Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster (SPEED) Recovery Act

The Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster (SPEED) Recovery Act updates the threshold for what qualifies as a “small project” under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This update will allow more recovery projects to proceed under simplified procedures and in turn streamline the process and paperwork for many projects, reduce administrative burdens, and provide more certainty in the recovery process for communities. This legislation was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO); Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR); Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Webster (R-FL); and Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chair Dina Titus (D-NV). 

More information can be found here.

H.R. 5689, Resilient AMERICA Act

H.R. 5689, as introduced by Chair DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves (MO), Chair Titus, and Ranking Member Webster (FL) includes a significant set of enhancements for mitigation and resilience activities authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to improve the provision of federal resources to help build capacity and fund risk-reducing, cost-effective mitigation projects for eligible state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and certain private nonprofit organizations.

More information can be found here.

H.R. 5673, Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation Technical Corrections Act

H.R. 5673, as introduced by Chair Titus and Ranking Member Webster (FL), makes several corrections to the resilience revolving loan fund program authorized in Sec. 205 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Stafford Sec. 205 was created with enactment of the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act (P.L. 116-284), the Senate companion to H.R. 3779 during the 116th Congress.

H.R. 5343, FEMA Caseworker Accountability Act

H.R. 5343, as introduced by Representative Tom Rice (R-SC), directs FEMA to provide a report to Congress regarding disaster case management staff turnover and any agency plans designed to reduce such turnover.

H.R. 5547, Care is an Economic Development Strategy or CEDS Act

H.R. 5547, introduced by Reps. Nikema Williams (D-GA) and Don Young (R-AK), amends the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (PWEDA) to instruct Economic Development Districts (EDDs) to consider the access and availability of affordable care-based services in the development of their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS).

H.R. 4771, to designate the Federal Building and United States Courthouse located at 111 North Adams Street in Tallahassee, Florida, as the "Joseph Woodrow Hatchett United States Courthouse and Federal Building”

H.R. 4771 designates the federal building at 111 North Adams Street in Tallahassee, Florida as the Joseph Woodrow Hatchett United States Courthouse and Federal Building. H.R. 4471 is sponsored by Representative Al Lawson (D-FL) and is cosponsored by the entire bipartisan Florida congressional delegation.

H.R. 246, to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 180 West Main Street in Abingdon, Virginia, as the "H. Emory Widener, Jr., Federal Building and United States Courthouse"

H.R. 246 designates the federal building at 180 West Main Street in Abington, Virginia as the H. Emory Widener, Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse. H.R. 246 is sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

General Services Administration’s Capital Investment and Leasing Program Resolutions

On October 28, 2021, the committee will consider 11 resolutions to authorize the design, construction, repair, and alteration of mechanical and electrical systems, structural systems, fire protection and life safety systems, and seismic deficiencies in buildings that house federal agencies and federal courts.

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