Cartwright, Lance Applaud Committee Passage of Bipartisan PREPARE Act
Washington, DC – Today, bipartisan legislation by U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Leonard Lance (NJ-07) unanimously passed the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee. The PREPARE Act (H.R. 4177) would improve government preparedness for extreme weather incidents.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) placed threats posed by extreme weather in its 2017 High Risk List, an accounting of the most pressing fiscal exposures the federal government faces. From 2010-2016, extreme weather events resulted in:
- 422 presidential major disaster declarations;
- 74 events that each inflicted at least $1 billion in damage; and
- A total of 1,646 fatalities and $316 billion in economic losses in 44 states caused by these 74 events.
The PREPARE Act authorizes an interagency council whose purpose is to provide recommendations on the best means of planning and preparing for extreme weather incidents. The bill also strengthens each individual agency’s resiliency efforts. Finally, the bill would provide state and local stakeholders with the best information available and best practices to help them formulate emergency preparation plans tailored to their local needs.
A coalition of over 50 business and thought leaders supports this legislation.
“This year, Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey illustrated the devastating effects extreme weather can have. My zero-cost bill compels the federal government to form a comprehensive plan to prepare for the grave threat posed by extreme weather events. By preparing for the worst, the government can limit the devastation and reduce taxpayers’ exposure to liability from extreme weather. This is the exact type of bipartisan, commonsense legislation that Congress should focus on,” said Rep Cartwright.
“We need the PREPARE Act to make sure our Nation is ready for natural disasters. Severe weather events have hit our country hard this year. Coordination and preparedness are critical to protect life and property when future events occur. This legislation will ensure government agencies are sharing information properly and outlining best practices so lessons learned responding to a disaster in one part of the country can be put to use responding to others across the Nation. I thank Congressman Cartwright for taking the lead on this important issue for the entire Nation,” said Rep. Lance.
"I applaud Rep. Cartwright for introducing this bill to address the federal government's need to prepare for extreme weather events. This bill is especially timely in light of the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The time to act is now,” said OGR Ranking Member Elijah Cummings.
“Extreme weather can devastate businesses. Preparation and planning -- which the PREPARE Act proposes -- are key to reducing the damage. Just this year, overall economic costs from strong storms includes $90 billion plus in Houston and $95 billion in Puerto Rico. We don't yet know how many companies will go out of business in Houston, Puerto Rico and other place affected by recent hurricanes, but we do know that 30 percent of small businesses affected by hurricane Sandy failed as a direct result of it. And that was after the federal government provided $60 billion in aid and $2.4 billion worth of disaster recovery loans from the Small Business Administration. It's only prudent to invest up front in resilience planning to keep our businesses safe,” said David Levine, CEO and Co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council.
“This year's massive hurricanes and wildfires serve as a reminder that the cost to respond to natural disasters continues to grow, and taxpayers are footing an ever larger part of the bill. The PREPARE Act offers a plan to prepare for and coordinate response in ways that are both streamlined and efficient,” said R.J. Lehmann, Senior Fellow at R Street.