Sens. Cruz, Tillis, Colleagues Introduce Disaster Relief Legislation to Mark the Start of the 2021 Hurricane Season
U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and I recently introduced the Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act (HELP Act), legislation to help communities better prepare for future natural disasters.
Upon introduction, I said:
"Over the past few years, Texans have experienced the devastating impact of natural disasters and hurricanes, as well as the complicated, lengthy rebuilding process. As this hurricane season begins, I am proud to join Sen. Tillis on this crucial legislation to expedite the disaster recovery process and break through bureaucratic barriers that often hold back communities in the wake of these storms."
Sen. Tillis added:
"North Carolinians know the devastating impacts of natural disasters all too well. They also unfortunately know how slow federal relief programs can take to provide assistance. That is why I am proud to introduce . . . these pieces of legislation to speed up the disaster recovery process and ensure our communities have the resources they need to recover in a timely fashion."
Following a Major Disaster Declaration from the President, FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is triggered to help the impacted community enact mitigation measures that reduce the risk of loss of life and property before the next storm. However, current regulation prohibits an applicant for FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program from starting construction on a mitigation project until they receive an answer from FEMA as to whether their project is ultimately awarded funding. The HELP Act addresses these bureaucratic delays and makes it easier for communities to begin mitigation projects immediately following natural disasters.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House by U.S. Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and has already been passed in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.