WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jared Moskowitz (D-Florida) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) introduced bipartisan legislation that would establish the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a cabinet-level federal agency. This bipartisan proposal would drastically improve FEMA’s ability to prepare, respond, and recover.
As it currently stands, bureaucratic red tape within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) limits FEMA’s ability to respond rapidly when disaster strikes.
“As the first Emergency Management Director ever elected to Congress, I have seen firsthand the challenges faced when responding to emergencies, recovering from them, and mitigating their impacts. That is why with my colleague Congressman Graves we have introduced legislation that will remove FEMA from DHS, returning it to being an independent federal agency — as it was originally intended. FEMA should not be 1 of 20 departments within DHS. There is no doubt that in the future FEMA will be busier than ever before and this move will help cut unnecessary red tape and make FEMA quicker,” said Moskowitz.
“When a disaster threatens, we need action not bureaucracy. Having FEMA buried within the Department of Homeland Security only contributes to delays, lack of action, and do-loops. This experiment of putting FEMA under the Secretary of Homeland Security has failed. They can’t even handle the border. Americans deserve better. Louisianians deserve a FEMA that responds with the same urgency that they feel after a disaster. I am proud to work on this bipartisan bill with Rep. Moskowitz. It’s long overdue for FEMA to become an independent cabinet-level agency once again,” said Graves.
The legislation would elevate FEMA by removing it from under the control of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), again making the FEMA administrator a cabinet-level position – as it was originally intended to be. As it currently stands, DHS has over 20 agencies under its control and has become too bureaucratic. When critical decisions need to be made in times of disaster, speed is the name of the game. Sitting in a giant bureaucracy impedes FEMA’s ability to respond to complicated disasters on time and reimburse communities in a timely matter so they can recover.
Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created DHS to better coordinate among federal agencies dealing with law enforcement, disaster preparedness and recovery, border protection, and civil defense. Since then, our nation has faced many natural disasters.
Text of the legislation is found here.