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senate Bill S. 3418

Should FEMA Receive $300M in Grants to Help States Fund Disaster Mitigation Efforts?

Argument in favor

Resilience and mitigation spending such as that proposed in this bill saves taxpayers more than $6 for every $1 invested; therefore, it’s easy to see that this bill’s $300 million investment will have significant benefit to taxpayers in the form of money saved over the long term. Additionally, giving states and local governments more money to finance these projects will help encourage them not to delay these important investments.

Argument opposed

State and local governments levy their own taxes, which they should use to fund their own communities’ needs, and also have a better sense than the federal government does of their local needs. Rather than making local communities more reliant on federal funding, it would be better to give them the tools and knowledge they need to use their own funds appropriately on resilience and mitigation if they deem it appropriate to do so.

What is Senate Bill S. 3418?

This bill, known as the STORM Act, would authorize the appropriation of $300 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make grants to capitalize new revolving funds administered by states. These funds would be used by state agencies to make low-interest loans to local governments to finance projects designed to mitigate damage from future disasters.

This bill’s full title is the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation Act.

Impact

State disaster mitigation funding; FEMA grantmaking to states; and FEMA’s grant budget.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 3418

$314.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would cost $314 million over the 2020-2025 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced this bill to provide support for lakeside communities, such as those along the Great Lakes that are facing rising water levels, coastal erosion, and flooding:

“The Great Lakes are expected to see record-high water levels in the coming months, conditions that put homes, roads, business and quite frankly, whole towns at risk of flooding damage. These are serious challenges that threaten the economy, the security and the wellbeing of communities across our state. Many of these communities simply don’t have the resources to combat this problem on their own.”

After this bill’s Senate passage, Sen. Peters said:

“Michigan’s communities around the Great Lakes continue to be threatened by rising water levels, coastal erosion, and flooding that are wreaking havoc on people’s lives and causing damage to public and private property. I am committed to ensuring that Michiganders and our beautiful coastlines are protected. I am proud that my bipartisan bill has passed the Senate and I will continue to fight to ensure that it is signed into law as soon as possible so we can provide our communities with the cost-effective and commonsense tools needed to mitigate the effects of these natural disasters.”

Sen. Peters’ office observes that studies have shown that resilience and mitigation spending, such as those proposed in this bill, save taxpayers more than $6 for every dollar invested. Sen. Peters contends, “These loans will not only allow communities to repair the damage they have today, but allow them to plan ahead and safeguard against future damage in the years ahead. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s simply common sense and a cost-effective solution as well.”

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters supports this bill. Its Senior Partnerships Manager, Bentley Johnson, says:

“The climate change crisis is already creating strange weather events and excessive rainfall in Michigan. Record-high lake levels are eroding our coasts, swallowing sand dunes and beaches, and threatening communities in many ways. Flooded farm fields are hurting farmers and run-off pollution threatens our sources of drinking water. Local governments must be equipped to combat this crisis, now and in the future, which is why this bill is so important. We applaud Senator Peters' to tackling this crisis head on and advancing a critical tool for Michigan to protect our water, our air and our economy.”

This legislation unanimously passed the Senate with the support of five bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including three Democrats and two Republicans. 


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Wildroze)

AKA

Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation Act

Official Title

A bill to amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to allow the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide capitalization grants to States to establish revolving funds to provide hazard mitigation assistance to reduce risks from disasters and natural hazards, and other related environmental harm.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house Passed on a voice vote
  • The senate Passed on a voice vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 9th, 2020

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