House Passes Bipartisan, Common Sense Solution to Save Money and Increase Resilience to Extreme Weather
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Leonard Lance (NJ-07) passed bipartisan legislation through the full House of Representatives. The PREPARE Act (H.R. 4177) will improve government preparedness for extreme weather incidents. The bill previously passed out of both Transportation & Infrastructure and the House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee and today passed the House as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.
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 2010-2017, extreme weather events resulted in:
- 482 presidential major disaster declarations;
- 90 events that each inflicted at least $1 billion in damage; and
- A total of 2,157 fatalities and $325 billion in economic losses caused by these 90 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 resilience 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.
“I am pleased to be leading the charge for improving our nation’s resilience to extreme weather events. My bipartisan PREPARE Act compels the federal government to form a comprehensive plan to prepare for the grave threat posed by extreme weather events. Beyond the hundreds of billions of costs to the private sector, the federal government has had to spend an additional $120 billion in disaster supplementals this Congress. A proactive approach by our government can limit the damage and reduce the costs of recovering from extreme weather. After five years of working hard on this bill, I am thrilled it has passed the full House and hope the Senate acts on it quickly,” said Rep. Cartwright.
“The PREPARE Act is a win for state and localities hit hard by natural disasters. We need the PREPARE Act to make sure our Nation is ready for the forces of nature that can strike any part of this country at any time. Severe weather events have hit our country hard in recent years. Many American have faced real hardship and the strain on taxpayer resources has been significant. Coordination and preparedness are critical to protect life and property when future events occur. This legislation will ensure government agencies are sharing information properly including realistic environmental circumstances 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.
“After the devastating 2004-2005 hurricanes, Florida made specific policy and behavior changes to improve our disaster preparedness. The cornerstone of Florida’s preparedness planning is resilient construction techniques and improved communication and coordination between state and local agencies. The PREPARE Act builds on the initiatives Florida pioneered. It is a thoughtful approach to improve disaster preparedness across federal agencies to better identify and proactively mitigate risk,” said Rep. Daniel Webster, Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
"After suffering more than $300 billion in economic losses from natural disasters from 2010 to 2016, already an imposing sum, estimates are that the United States just about matched that total in 2017 alone. Total federal spending on 2017's natural disasters has topped a record $120 billion. The PREPARE Act represents a bipartisan approach to coordinate disaster preparation by federal agencies and more effectively respond to what has proven a growing risk to taxpayers," said R.J. Lehmann, Senior Fellow at R Street.