Bill to streamline disaster recovery assistance introduced: Rep. Garret Graves

Staff Report

U.S. Reps. Garret Graves and David Rouzer introduced the Natural Disaster Recovery Program Act to expedite disaster recovery funding to impacted communities.

As announced in a news release from Graves, the bill will improve the recovery process in both the short and long term, resiliency, infrastructure repairs, housing, mitigation, and economic revitalization following disasters.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves is shown in a file photo from the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bayou Lafourche pump station project in Donaldsonville last year.

According to the Louisiana representative, multiple official reports and personal experience in Louisiana have shown that the current federal disaster recovery processes take several years to get people back in their homes, businesses reopened and communities back to normal.

The Graves-Rouzer bill would create an unmet needs block grant program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send immediate assistance to states impacted by federally declared disasters. States and local governments would be empowered with the decision-making capability to decide where to spend disaster dollars and get money out the door and into the community faster.

“Everyone in Louisiana knows that someone a thousand miles away in Washington, D.C. is too far removed to be directing disaster recovery. Our legislation empowers the recovery process at the local level rather than waiting on bureaucrats and contractors who get paid by the page and minute to shift paperwork,” Graves said in the statement. “The federal government continues to repeat the same mistake when it comes to natural disasters: a failure to respond quickly – all because of continued red tape and bureaucratic log jams. This bill fixes that. Folks shouldn’t have to wait years for recovery dollars while trying to get their homes, businesses, churches, or other community cornerstones back up and running. Our communities should come back stronger and much more quickly as a result of this legislation.”