Sens. Rick Scott and Gary Peters Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Mitigate Waste, Fraud and Abuse Following Natural Disasters
February 8, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Senators Rick Scott and Gary Peters reintroduced the 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 aims to 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 was approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) last Congress. Senator Jacky Rosen joined as a cosponsor of the bill.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida is no stranger to natural disasters. Almost every year, hurricanes bring devastation to families and businesses across the state, but thankfully, Florida is resilient because of the intense preparation that goes into our disaster readiness planning. Sadly, 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 Senator Rosen for joining me in introducing this good, bipartisan bill. The Disaster Contracting Improvement Act is a win for American taxpayers.”
Senator Gary Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, “Ensuring there is clear guidance on debris removal will help communities recover faster from extreme weather events. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will increase coordination between FEMA and partners who are helping with disaster recovery so cleanup efforts are more cost-effective and efficient.”
Senator Jacky Rosen said, “As we work to ensure states like Nevada receive federal support to mitigate and recover from the effects of natural disasters, we must make sure that the money we secure is used appropriately and responsibly. Our bipartisan legislation will help cut down on waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayers’ dollars while ensuring this critical funding reaches the affected communities where it is meant to go.”
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.