WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) approved Senators Rick Scott and Gary Peters’ bipartisan Disaster Contract Improvement Act to improve the disaster contracting process on the federal, local and state levels of government following natural disasters and mitigate waste, fraud and abuse. The bill will protect victims of natural disasters by ensuring post-disaster services are delivered quickly and taxpayer dollars are spent solely on helping impacted communities. The Disaster Contract Improvement Act now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Senator Jacky Rosen joined as a cosponsor of the bill.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida, unfortunately, is no stranger to natural disasters. Every year, hurricanes impact families and businesses across the state. But Florida is resilient because of the intense preparation that goes into our disaster readiness planning. But, even when we prepare, all too often we have seen waste, fraud and abuse following storms. It hurts our families, local governments, and the American taxpayer. My bill, the Disaster Contracting Improvement Act, will help stop this waste and make sure that every dollar is spent with care, preserving resources for future disaster response efforts. I want to thank Chairman Peters and my HSGAC colleagues for coming together to advance this good, bipartisan bill. The Disaster Contracting Improvement Act is a win for American taxpayers and I look forward to it passing the full Senate soon.”
Senator Gary Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, “Increased cooperation between FEMA and partners engaged in disaster recovery efforts can help ensure debris cleanup efforts after extreme weather events are more efficient and use taxpayer dollars more effectively. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will help provide clear guidance on debris removal procedures to help communities quickly recover from devastating disasters.”
Senator Jacky Rosen said, “Unfortunately, Nevada is all too familiar with natural disasters that are only getting worse, from wildfires to droughts. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will root out waste and ensure that taxpayer money for disaster response goes directly to helping affected communities. I applaud the committee’s passage of this important legislation, and look forward to the bill advancing in the Senate.”
The Disaster Contract Improvement Act:
- Establishes oversight on debris removal through the creation of an advisory working group comprised of representatives from FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, states and local governments, the USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service, as well as subject matter experts, including those in the debris services contractor industry.
- Requires the FEMA Administrator, no later than one year after the bill’s enactment and in consultation with the advisory working group, to develop and implement guidance and procedures with respect to the oversight and costs associated with debris removal contracts entered into under the public assistance grant program.
- Requires the FEMA Administrator to conduct training and outreach to State, Tribal and Local Governments on any new guidance developed under this program.
- Requires the GAO to conduct further study on the Debris Removal Advance Contracting process to improve oversight and prevent fraud, waste and abuse across the entire system.