WASHINGTON — Congressman Lou Barletta has introduced a bill to reform disaster assistance.
The proposed Disaster Recovery Reform Act will initiate a new component to the disaster relief system by ensuring that federal funds go toward mitigation investment before disaster strikes. In 2017, more than 4.7 million people registered for disaster aid, requiring over $50 billion in additional federal disaster recovery funding.
Barletta believes that the bill will save taxpayer money as well as lives.
“Even conservative estimates have shown that for every $1 we spend on mitigation, we can save between $4 and $8 in avoided disaster recovery costs,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “Focusing on mitigation will help disaster prone communities across the nation build better and build smarter. It’s time to stop asking ‘what now?’ right after a catastrophe, and focus on ‘what’s next?’ to prepare for future disasters.”
Mitigation includes preparation and planning initiatives such as elevating or moving structures vulnerable to flooding and hardening structures to reduce the effects of hurricanes and earthquakes.
A congressional committee mark up is scheduled for the DRRA on November 30.