[House Report 117-170]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


117th Congress     }                                  {  Rept. 117-170
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session       }                                  {      Part 1

======================================================================



 
               HAZARD ELIGIBILITY AND LOCAL PROJECTS ACT

                                _______
                                

November 2, 2021.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. DeFazio, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1917]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1917) to modify eligibility 
requirements for certain hazard mitigation assistance programs, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of Legislation...........................................     1
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Legislative History and Consideration............................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     6
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     6
Preemption Clarification.........................................     6
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7
Committee Correspondence.........................................     8

                         PURPOSE OF LEGISLATION

    The purpose of H.R. 1917 is to modify eligibility 
requirements for certain hazard mitigation assistance programs.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Under current federal law, local and state agencies 
applying for federal funding to begin certain Hazard Mitigation 
Grant Program (HMGP)-funded projects must wait until they 
receive approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
(FEMA) before purchasing land or beginning construction on 
these projects. Purchasing land or beginning construction 
absent full approval from FEMA will disqualify a project from 
receiving HMGP assistance. This process prevents simple land 
acquisition and mitigation projects from starting, further 
delaying the recovery of disaster-impacted communities and 
improvements in community resilience. This legislation will 
expedite the start of certain types of projects following 
Presidentially-declared disasters while awaiting FEMA's full 
approval.

                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of rule XIII, clause 3(c)(6)(A) of the 
117th Congress, the following hearing was used to develop or 
consider H.R. 1917:
    On March 18, 2021, the Subcommittee held a hearing titled 
``Building Smarter: The Benefits of Investing in Resilience and 
Mitigation.'' The Subcommittee received testimony from Mr. 
Russell ``Russ''' Strickland, Executive Director, Maryland 
Emergency Management Agency, State of Maryland, testifying on 
behalf of the National Emergency Management Association; Mr. 
Roy E. Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer, Insurance 
Institute for Business and Home Safety; Ms. Velma Smith, Senior 
Government Relations Officer, Flood Prepared Communities 
Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts; Mr. Ben Harper, Head of 
Corporate Sustainability, Zurich North America Insurance 
Company; and Mr. John ``Chuck'' Fowke, Chairman, National 
Association of Home Builders. This hearing examined the current 
and future capacities in emergency management, mitigation and 
resilience, insurance, and construction.
    In the 116th Congress, the following hearing was used to 
develop or consider the legislation:
    On May 22, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, 
Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a hearing 
titled ``Disaster Preparedness: DRRA Implementation and FEMA 
Readiness.'' Witnesses included: Dr. Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy 
Administrator for Resilience, FEMA; Ms. Sima Merick, Executive 
Director, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, testifying on 
behalf of the National Emergency Management Association; Mr. 
Nick Crossley, Director, Hamilton County Ohio Emergency 
Management and Homeland Security Agency, testifying on behalf 
of the International Association of Emergency Managers; Mr. 
James Gore, Supervisor, County of Sonoma, California, 
testifying on behalf of the National Association of Counties; 
Mr. Al Davis, Deputy Director, Texas A&M Engineering Extension 
Service, testifying on behalf of the National Domestic 
Preparedness Consortium; and Mr. Randy Noel, President, Reve, 
Inc., testifying on behalf of the National Association of Home 
Builders. Topics discussed included the state of federal 
disaster preparedness and mitigation programs since the 
enactment of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (Division 
D of P.L. 115-254) and the status of federal disaster recovery 
assistance funding authorized in the wake of significant 
disaster activity in 2017 and 2018.

                 LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AND CONSIDERATION

    H.R. 1917 was introduced in the House on March 16, 2021, by 
Ms. Fletcher and Mr. McCaul and referred to the Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the 
Committee on Financial Services. Within the Committee, H.R. 
1917 was referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Development, 
Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.
    The Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, 
and Emergency Management was discharged from further 
consideration of H.R. 1917 on March 24, 2021.
    The Committee considered H.R. 1917 on March 24, 2021, and 
ordered the measure to be favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives, by voice vote.
    The following amendment was offered:
    An amendment offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1); was 
WITHDRAWN.
    Page 2, line 3, strike ``assistance program'' and all that 
follows through ``if the entity'' on line 4 and insert 
``assistance program or other project shall be eligible to 
receive emergency disaster assistance for a covered project''.
    Page 2, line 6, insert ``if the entity'' before 
``complies'''.
    Page 2, line 8, after ``program'' insert ``or disaster 
recovery program''.
    Page 2, line 10, strike ``and''.
    Page 2, line 11, insert ``if the entity'' before 
``complies'''.
    Page 2, line 12, strike the period and insert ``; and''.
    Page 2, after line 12, insert the following:
    (C) if the project was in compliance with applicable base 
flood elevation standards in place at the time that 
construction on such project was initiated.
    Page 2, line 15, insert ``or disaster recovery program'' 
before ``shall be responsible''.
    Page 3, line 2, after ``program'' insert ``or disaster 
recovery program''.
    Page 3, line 6, after ``program'' insert ``or disaster 
recovery program''.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each committee report to include the 
total number of votes cast for and against on each record vote 
on a motion to report and on any amendment offered to the 
measure or matter, and the names of those members voting for 
and against.
    No record votes were requested during consideration of H.R. 
1917.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

               NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the 
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is 
included in this report.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1917 from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 17, 2021.
Hon. Peter A. DeFazio,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1917, the Hazard 
Eligibility and Local Projects Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    
    
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    H.R. 1917 would make additional projects eligible for 
funding under programs administered by the Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) that assist state and local 
governments and owners of residential and commercial property 
with averting damage from future disasters. In fiscal year 
2020, FEMA awarded about $1.3 billion in such grants through 
three programs:
           The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program ($595 
        million),
           The Building Resilient Infrastructure and 
        Communities program ($500 million), and
           The Flood Mitigation Assistance program 
        ($200 million).
    Under the bill, FEMA could approve future applications to 
acquire property or relocate structures if the project's 
planning or construction begins before the grant is awarded and 
the project is exempt from environmental review under the 
National Environmental Policy Act. (Under current law, grant 
money cannot cover costs incurred before an application is 
awarded.)
    Over the 2016-2020 period, FEMA awarded an average of 1,700 
grants each year under the three programs. Fewer than 2 percent 
of those grants (about 25 projects each year) were awarded for 
acquisition or relocation projects that were exempt from 
environmental review. Using information from FEMA, CBO 
estimated that an average of three applications were denied 
each year because work began before the application was 
approved.
    As a result, CBO expects that under H.R. 1917 those 
additional projects would be approved each year, at an 
estimated average cost of $1 million per project. In total, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would cost a total of $15 
million over the 2021-2026 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts. CBO assumes that the bill will be 
enacted late in fiscal year 2021 and that there would be no 
budgetary effects in 2021 because of the time needed to prepare 
applications for grants.
    The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall 
within budget function 450 (community and regional 
development).

               TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER H.R. 1917
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   2021     2022     2023     2024     2025     2026   2021-2026
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mitigation Grants:
    Estimated Authorization....................        0        3        3        3        3        3        15
    Estimated Outlays..........................        0        3        3        3        3        3        15
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Director 
of Budget Analysis.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
performance goal and objective of this legislation is to 
expedite the commencement of post-disaster mitigation projects.

                    DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 1917 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the 
federal government known to be duplicative of another federal 
program, a program that was included in any report from the 
Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

   CONGRESSIONAL EARMARKS, LIMITED TAX BENEFITS, AND LIMITED TARIFF 
                                BENEFITS

    In compliance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of the rule 
XXI.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).

                        PREEMPTION CLARIFICATION

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee finds that H.R. 1917 does not 
preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 
104-1).

             SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section. 1. Short title

    This section provides that this bill may be cited as the 
``Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act''.

Sec. 2. Authority to begin planning and construction of certain hazard 
        mitigation projects

            Subsection (a). Eligibility for Assistance for Initiated 
                    Projects
    This subsection describes the requirements for eligibility 
for assistance under the act, which include compliance with the 
requirements of the hazard mitigation assistance program and 
other federal requirements.
            Subsection (b). Definitions
    This section provides definitions for the terms ``covered 
project'' and ``hazard mitigation assistance program''.
            Subsection (c). Applicability
    This section clarifies that the authorities provided by 
this bill will not be retroactive for previously appropriated 
disaster relief dollars.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    As reported by the Committee, H.R. 1917 makes no changes in 
existing law.


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