September 14, 2022

Chairs DeFazio, Titus Statement on House Passage of T&I Legislation, Including Bills to Help Prepare for Natural Disasters

Washington, DC – This week, the House of Representatives passed six bills within the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management with bipartisan support. 
“I applaud the House for passing several critical pieces of legislation that will help us address climate change and improve how states and territories are able to respond to natural disasters like wildfires,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said. “Our planet is in the midst of a climate crisis with consequences like wildfires increasing in frequency; the Wildfire Recovery Act will give states more federal support to suppress wildfires before they become major disasters. When disasters do occur, thanks to the PAW Act, the needs of the furry members of our families will be better met. Additionally, the CREW Act will ensure FEMA staff who come to aid natural disaster victims will have the protections and benefits they deserve. Finally, the BRIGHT Act will help address climate change by requiring federal buildings to use energy-efficient light bulbs, which will reduce our carbon footprint. I want to thank Subcommittee Chair Titus for her work on these critical pieces of legislation. I look forward to these bills being signed into law by the President soon.”
“I am proud of these bills that passed the House today with bipartisan support,” Rep. Titus (D-NV) said. “They address the critical issues of protecting our beloved pets during disasters, saving taxpayer dollars by making public buildings more energy-efficient, and preventing FEMA reservists from losing their full-time employment while they are assisting communities during natural catastrophes. I want to thank Chairman DeFazio and Chairman Peters for their leadership and support of these measures.”

Legislation passed yesterday includes:
H.R. 1066, Wildfire Recovery Act
H.R. 1066, introduced by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), statutorily codifies that Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG), authorized in Sec. 420 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, shall have a federal share of not less than 75%. Additionally, H.R. 1066 requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct and complete a rulemaking to establish criteria that will be used to inform when the FEMA Administrator may recommend a cost share adjustment to the president for FMAGs of a certain magnitude. A similar regulatory framework already exists for cost share adjustments to major disasters declared pursuant to the Stafford Act.
Legislation passed today includes:
S. 442, Bulb Replacement Improving Government with High-Efficiency Technology (BRIGHT) Act
The BRIGHT Act requires the General Services Administration (GSA) to ensure that public buildings are using the most life-cycle cost effective and energy efficient technology to the extent practicable when performing normal maintenance, altering, or constructing public buildings. The bill also requires GSA to issue guidance to federal agencies, and state, local and Tribal entities to further streamline efficiency and effectiveness across government. The committee marked up Rep. Dina Titus’ companion bill—H.R. 7636, the Bulb Replacement Improving Government with High-efficiency Technology Act or the BRIGHT Act earlier this year.
S. 4205, PAW Act
The PAW Act would ensure the needs of animals have been adequately considered before disaster strikes. This bill requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator to establish an advisory group to encourage and foster collaborative efforts among individuals and entities working to address the needs of animals in disaster preparedness. The working group would review current best practices and federal guidance on congregate and non-congregate sheltering and evacuation planning for household pets, service and assistance animals, and captive animals. If the Administrator, in consultation with the working group, finds that current federal guidance does not match best practices, FEMA will be required to publish updated guidance in consultation with the advisory group. The committee marked up Rep. Dina Titus’ companion bill—H.R. 7789, the Planning for Animal Wellness (PAW) Act—earlier this year.
S. 2293, Civilian Reservist Emergency Workforce (CREW) Act of 2021
The CREW Act would ensure, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), that FEMA reservists have more employment protections when they deploy to help aid in the event of natural disasters and emergencies. Additionally, this legislation allows for reservists to receive these benefits even if they are unable to give prior notice of being away from work because of deployment. Rep. Dina Titus’ was the sponsor of similar legislation in the House, H.R. 7001, FEMA Intermittent Personnel Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 2022. 
H.R. 1468, Securities and Exchange Commission Real Estate Leasing Authority Revocation Act
H.R. 1468, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, would revoke the Security and Exchange Commission’s independent leasing authority and require the Comptroller General of the United States to update a 2016 General Accountability Office review of federal entities with independent leasing authority.