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DLM ALERT – House Appropriations Releases Disaster Bill

HAC Press release
For Immediate Release: December 15, 2017
Contact: Jennifer Hing, (202) 226-7007

Emergency Disaster Aid Package Introduced

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen today introduced a bill to provide additional emergency assistance for recent hurricanes, wildfires in California, and related agriculture losses. The bill, H.R. 4667, totals $81 billion, and targets funds to programs to continue relief and recovery efforts in all of the affected communities, including in Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen made the following statement on the legislation:

“This legislation is the next step in helping our fellow Americans recover from multiple, back-to-back, devastating disasters, including some of the largest major hurricanes, wildfires, and agriculture losses this country has ever seen.

“We have a commitment to our fellow citizens that are in the midst of major rebuilding efforts in all areas, including Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They deserve our continued support, and we must provide the necessary resources for them to recover from these emergencies. This funding is critical to victims devastated by these disasters.

“As we move forward, we will continue to monitor recovery efforts and will stand side-by-side those victims to ensure that they have what is required to regain their livelihoods and rebuild their communities.”

Bill Highlights

Total: $81 billion in emergency spending for programs and activities to respond to recent hurricanes, wildfires, and other designated disasters. This includes funding such as:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): $27.6 billion for FEMA for disaster response and recovery efforts. This includes:

• Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) funding for response and recovery efforts in all disaster affected areas;
• A provision that allows the transfer of up to $4 billion to the Disaster Assistance Direct Loan Program Account for Community Disaster Loans (CDL);
• A provision providing up to 90% federal cost share for disasters declared in 2017 for wildfires; and
• $60 million to ensure FEMA’s readiness for future disasters.

Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR): $26.1 billion for CDBG-DR for housing, business, infrastructure, and mitigation needs for communities devastated by disasters in 2017 and prior years. This includes:

• $13.6 billion in grants to states, tribes, and territories for recovery efforts. This is a block grant program for disaster-affected communities with significant flexibility to address local needs; and
• $12.5 billion set-aside for mitigation projects to help communities protect against future natural disasters, and to protect the taxpayer from recurring costs of rebuilding after storms.

Army Corps of Engineers – $12.1 billion for the Corps of Engineers for repairs needed due to natural disasters, and to expedite studies and projects to reduce damages in future disasters in areas affected by recent hurricanes. This includes:

• $10.5 billion for repairs to ongoing construction projects, and to expedite construction projects that will help mitigate future disaster damage;
• $370 million to repair damages along the Mississippi River and its tributaries;
• $608 million for Operation and Maintenance to repair damages, such as dredging of navigation channels;
• $537 million for Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies to repair damages; and
• $75 million to expedite studies to help mitigate future disaster damage.

Agriculture Assistance: $3.8 billion for the Department of Agriculture for disaster recovery from hurricanes, wildfires, and crop loss. This includes:

• $2.6 billion for agriculture disaster assistance, including those related crop and livestock losses in disaster designated zones;
• $541 million for watershed and flood prevention efforts;
• $400 million for emergency conservation efforts to mitigate future disaster risks; and
• $165 million for repairs and mitigation for rural water and waste disposal systems.

Education: $2.9 billion for hurricane education recovery. This funding will help restart operations in schools in affected areas, including school rebuilding and refurbishment and replacement of educational material.
This funding will also provide support to states and localities that accommodate displaced students from K-12, college and technical schools from affected areas, including disabled and homeless students. This funding can be used for both public and private schools.

Small Business Disaster Loans: $1.6 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster loan program. This will allow SBA to make up to $12.2 billion in disaster loans to small businesses and homeowners in all affected areas for recovery and rebuilding.

Defense Facilities – $1.5 billion to repair Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Reserve, National Guard, Coast Guard, and medical military facilities, and to repair or replace equipment damaged by the hurricanes in all affected areas.

Federal Transportation Emergency Relief: $1.4 billion to address all current damages to federal highways caused by designated disasters. These funds are provided directly to states and localities for repairs. The bill also includes $269 million to help communities restore hurricane-damaged mass transit systems.

Economic Development Grants: $600 million to states and localities for economic development grants. These projects can include technical assistance, planning, and infrastructure projects to aid economic recovery in hurricane and wildfire disaster areas.