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Rubio, Peters, Tillis Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan FACE Act

Dec 18, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded the House passage of S. 979, which he introduced in April 2019 with Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Thom Tillis (R-NC). The Federal Advance Contracts Enhancement (FACE) Act passed the Senate unanimously on November 7, 2019. With today’s action by the House of Representatives, where the bill passed 386-1, the legislation now heads to the President for signature. 
The FACE Act will 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
“After the past few hurricane seasons, which produced devastation in Florida, and its neighboring states, I thank my colleagues in the House for passing this important bill that will better assist in responding to future storms,” Rubio said. “The FACE Act will ensure that federal response will be more effective and efficient, and I urge President Trump to swiftly sign it into law.”
“Planning ahead to respond to natural disasters can help streamline recovery efforts and save taxpayers in Michigan and across the country millions of dollars in the long run,” Peters, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said. “I was proud to work with my colleagues on these bipartisan and commonsense reforms to help communities be better prepared to respond when disaster strikes and ensure they can quickly access the resources they need for a speedy recovery.”
“North Carolina has faced extensive recovery efforts from destruction left by hurricanes over the last few years, and coordination between FEMA and state governments is key to assist those affected by the storm,” Tillis said. “I am proud this bipartisan legislation is now headed to the President’s desk to improve coordination and ensure future recovery efforts are seamless.”
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.