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Rubio, Johnson, Peters Introduce Bill to Reform FEMA Advance Contracts to Better Prepare for Disasters

Apr 2, 2019 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Federal Advance Contracts Enhancement (FACE) Act. This bipartisan legislation would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure more effective use and management of its advance contracts for goods and services. The bill requires federal preparedness actions to be coordinated with states and localities to prevent gaps in recovery efforts from occurring. A one pager of the bill is available here.
“As our local communities continue to rebuild and recover from devastating natural disasters, Congress has an important role to implement lessons learned so future federal response is more effective and efficient,” Rubio said. “The FACE Act accomplishes these goals by incorporating detailed recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office to improve FEMA’s management and use of advance contracts to prevent future gaps in recovery efforts from occurring.”
“This bill not only makes it easier for FEMA to serve areas affected by natural disasters, it’s also another step toward making government more efficient, effective, and accountable to the taxpayer,” Johnson said. “I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this commonsense legislation.”
“As communities across the country struggle to recover from flooding, wildfires and other natural disasters, it’s clear that our federal, state and local governments must be prepared to quickly respond to these emergencies,” Peters said. “As Ranking Member of the committee that oversees FEMA, I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that will help streamline disaster relief like emergency supply distribution and cleanup efforts to ensure they are more efficient and save money for taxpayers. These commonsense reforms will enable the federal government to be both better prepared and to quickly mobilize resources to affected areas, ensuring that our communities have the opportunity to fully rebuild and recover in the aftermath of a disaster.”
The FACE Act will require FEMA to ensure more effective use and management of its advance contracts process by incorporating the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recommendations from its report titled,“2017 Disaster Contracting: Actions Needed to Better Ensure More Effective Use and Management of Advance Contracts.” These recommendations will ensure that federal preparedness actions are coordinated to prevent gaps in recovery efforts from occurring. The bill also requires FEMA to regularly update the appropriate committees of Congress on the progress of the agency’s implementation of these recommendations.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Congress required FEMA to establish advance contracts for goods and services to enable the federal government to quickly mobilize resources to affected areas in the aftermath of a disaster. The 2017 disaster season was historically destructive, and FEMA was forced to rely heavily on advance contracts in its response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the 2017 California wildfires. GAO was asked to review the federal government’s response to the 2017 hurricanes and California wildfires and assess a number of issues.
In its report, GAO found a number of issues with FEMA’s handling of advance contracts and made nine recommendations. FEMA concurred with all nine of GAO’s recommendations.