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Friday, September 30, 2022
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Congress Members Form New Bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus

Co-chairs of this caucus represent regions that experience a wide variety of natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to wildfires to flooding.

Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (R-Fl.), Congressman Troy A. Carter Sr. (D-La.), Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Co.), and Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) announced the formation of the Bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus. This caucus is committed to working across the aisle to advance legislation and policies that provide efficient, equitable relief for disaster survivors and promotes measures that pave the path for impacted communities to make a full recovery. The caucus will also advocate for disaster preparedness measures and programs that help save lives, while readying America’s communities for the disasters ahead.

The co-chairs of this caucus represent regions that experience a wide variety of natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to wildfires to flooding, and have all directly navigated the disaster recovery process for their districts. They are coming together from across the political spectrum and across the country to speak in a united voice for better and improved systems for our disaster preparedness and recovery systems.

“The creation of the new Bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus will serve as a phenomenal tool in crafting legislation to better protect our communities prone to natural disasters,” said Congressman Gimenez. “South Florida remains a high-risk area for flooding and storm damage. Advocating for crucial funding and programs through the caucus will fortify our ability to keeping South Florida the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“Disasters don’t recognize borders or political party, and neither should our nation’s disaster preparedness or recovery system,” said Congressman Carter. “As extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity due to climate change, we need to work together to strengthen our systems and save lives. I am proud to join with my fellow co-chairs to launch this bipartisan caucus that is committed to advocating for effective preparedness and recovery measures and programs that best serve the American people and don’t leave anyone behind.”

“In launching the bipartisan Disaster Recovery Caucus, we are affirming our commitment to policies that provide real relief for disaster survivors and promote measures that pave the path for impacted communities to make a full recovery. With wildfires on the rise in Colorado and across the West, it is clear that these catastrophic events are not going away any time soon and we must be prepared to do all we can to prepare our communities.” said Congressman Neguse.

“In a coastal district like mine, natural disasters are an inevitable part of life. As coastal areas face increased risks from flooding and sea level rise, we must take preemptive steps to prepare and protect our most vulnerable communities,” said Congresswoman Mace. “This caucus will serve as an important bipartisan platform to ensure our nation is prepared for and able to recover from natural disasters whenever and wherever they strike.”

Several organizations have also voiced their support for the creation of this caucus.

“Main Street America applauds the formation of the Bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus. Each community impacted by climate disasters faces a challenging recovery for residents, small businesses, and overall quality of life. Providing increased Congressional attention and visibility to help communities large and small prepare for and recover from natural disasters is vitally important to the physical and economic health of communities,” said Hannah White, Interim President and CEO, Main Street America.

“We at LISC understand the unique challenges and opportunities to provide the resources needed to rebuild, expand resilience capabilities, and strengthen post-disaster opportunities in rural and urban communities,” said Matt Josephs, Senior Vice President of Policy at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). “That is why we applaud the creation of the Bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus and thank Representatives Carter, Gimenez, Neguse, and Mace for their commitment to enhancing disaster recovery, resiliency, and preparedness across the nation.”

“From rampant wildfires, to increasingly frequent storm and flooding events, to extreme heat waves – climate-fueled disasters touch the lives of more people with each passing year, and show no near-term signs of abating,” said Jessie Ritter, senior director of water resources and coastal policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “The Disaster Recovery Caucus will provide a critical forum for discussion and pursuit of solutions that help our nation prepare for and respond to disasters in a way that is smarter, and more equitable and sustainable.”

“The climate crisis is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and other natural hazards, from deadly heat waves to destructive floods,” said Joel Scata, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Frontline communities disproportionately bear the brunt of these events, but decisions made at all levels of government can lessen these harms—or make them worse. The work of this caucus can be essential to ensuring government minimizes the harms climate change is having on the nation.”

“When a disaster of any kind strikes a community the impact on the local and regional economy can be catastrophic, often requiring significant investments spanning years in order to rebuild. Beyond critical first-response needs following disasters, individuals and businesses experiencing significant hardships need longer-term, targeted assistance to ensure a complete and equitable recovery.  IEDC applauds Congressmen Carter and Gimenez for introducing this important legislation that recognizes the vital role that the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) plays in local economic recovery. Creating an Office of Disaster Response at EDA keeps a dedicated focus on recovering communities and provides the agency with commonsense flexibility and resources to respond, while also removing the prohibitive match requirements which will ensure that the most underserved communities receive the necessary resources to rebuild. IEDC further welcomes the establishment of the Bipartisan Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus and thanks Congressmen Carter and Gimenez for their vision and leadership in creating this new voice supporting economic recovery,” said Nathan Ohle, President & CEO, International Economic Development Council.

To correspond with the announcement of the Bipartisan Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus, Congressman Carter and other co-chairs also introduced two bipartisan disaster recovery bills today.

The Delivering Equity and Justice for Disaster Survivors Act of 2022” would establish a Disaster Equity and Justice Subcommittee within FEMA to help amplify the voices, needs, and experiences of disaster survivors. This legislation was also endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

The Office of Disaster Recovery Act” directs the Secretary of Commerce to create an Office of Disaster Recovery to support and coordinate economic recuperation for communities after a natural disaster. This legislation was endorsed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Read more at Rep. Gimenez’s office

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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