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tv   2019 FEMA Budget Request  CSPAN  April 13, 2018 11:02am-12:34pm EDT

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please thank me in thanking them for joining us today. welcome. we are glad to have you here. >> now live to capitol hill for a hearing with fema administrator brock long. he will be testifying before the house appropriations homeland question on his 2019 budget request. >> congress has passed three supplements als providing $50 billion for disaster relief fund. this is in response to recovery from three catastrophic events. i'd like to hear from you today on how recovery efforts are going and what additional
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resources you think fema will need in the coming months to continue to support the long-term recovery. fy '19 budget for fema is $11 billion. the request proposes reductions to existing fema grant programs while at the same time requesting $522 million for a new grant program that hasn't been authorized. at least not as of yet. i'd like to hear from you why you propose these cuts, particularly in the current threat environment and what new grant programs continue to achieve. i understand fema has also recently released a new strategic plan which outlines -- gives us an outline of your vision for the agency. i hope you will discuss how you plan to implement this strategy and how fy '19 requests this board should reference. at this time i'd like to recognize my distinguished
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ranking member, for any remarks she may make. >> good morning, administrator long, welcome to your second appearance before the subcommittee. the last time you appeared was on the heels of the imaging hurricanes and fires which prompted emergency supplemental spending bills. we are eager to send some time with you to get your perspective on fee ma's budget request, your ongoing response and recovery activities and the challenges that lie ahead. i know this has been a difficult time for your agency, you had only been at fema for a few months when we not only experiencing the most damaging if you are cane season in history but wildfires that devastated large swaths of my home state of california. we want to help support the efforts of fema's personnel and we want to make sure that fema's programs are working well to support recovery efforts. this is particularly true for puerto rico because of the level
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of devastation on the island and the fiscal challenges it was already facing. we must not forget the families and other survivors who months after the disaster are still struggling to rebuild and we must remember that this disaster occurred on american soil and that the people it affected are americans. again, we appreciate your joining us this morning and i look forward to a productive discussion. yield back. >> thank you. we are joined by the ranking member of the full committee. do you have any comments you wish to make? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i appreciate your having this hearing and thank you, ranking member for holding this hearing and administrator long thank you for joining us this morning. you last testified before the subcommittee last november on the hurricane supplemental
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request. thank you for your hard work assisting the states and u.s. territories, many of which are still recovering months later. this morning we will hear your justification to the fy '19 fema budget request which i find lackluster at best. you proposed to eliminate several programs and to severely cut others with devastating implications, particularly to new york. for example, your budget request would eliminate the national domestic preparedness consortium which has trained approximately 2 million first responders. the emergency food and shelter grant program which provides shelter, food and water for families and communities in crisis. your budget request would also notably reduce the national pre disaster mitigation fund by $61 million as we saw in the wake of
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superstorm sandy and hurricanes harvey and maria, responding to and recovering from a natural disaster often costs a lot more than investments in mitigation measures. in 2017 alone there were 50 major disaster declarations, 20 of which occurred after you were confirmed. we can all agree that communities need to be proactive in mitigating their own vulnerabilities, but this request in my judgment sends the wrong signal by cutting an essential program so deeply and could result in higher recovery costs to the federal government and communities hit by disasters. your budget would also threaten the safety of our communities by significantly decreasing emergency management performance grants by $70.7 million, port
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security grants by $63.6 million, public transportation, security assistance by 63.6 million, the state homeland security grant program by 117.6 million, the urban area security initiative grant program by 117.6 million. with threats of violence and terrorism on the rise these programs are essential for terror targets like new york to help state and local law enforcement protect our communities. simply put our communities cannot strengthen their preparedness programs when support from their federal partner is inconsistent was so inadequate. add start long, i look forward to a productive discussion this morning about how we can best build resiliency, mitt gate the impacts of future disasters and keep our communities safe from
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violence and terrorism. thank you again for being here today. >> thank you. >> [ inaudible ]. >> we do have your written report in the file, but we would like for you to give us a summation and give us what you think we need to hear. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam member, thank you and members of the committee it's great to be here again today and i think we're both -- we are all here in the spirit of improvement and trying to find ways to make the nation more resilient and prepared. i work towards it every day and i look at this budget request, one, i think it was not informed by the 2017 season because of the budget process that it puts forward but i do look at this budget as an opportunity to serve as an initial down payment on a strategic plan that i feel strongly about and the way forward that i want to talk to you about to obtain your support
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going forward. obviously it was the biggest disaster year that we have seen in our history, 47 million americans, 15% we now estimate of the population was impacted in some way, shape or form. to date i want to thank you guys for the three supplementals, it's been tremendous help, but more importantly it's not that i need more money in some cases as much as i need new authorities. for example, disaster recovery housing is not a well designed program. i need more granting authorities to be able to provide governors an opportunity to be able to control their own destiny and i'm asking for your help on that. but what we put forward so far as a result of 2017 we have obligated close to $22 billion from california to the virgin islands, $11 billion of that has gone directly to the commonwealth of puerto rico already. these recoveries -- infrastructure is not built overnight and the recoveries are not going to be done overnight. we will be in these communities for years as we progress
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through. so we learned a lot of major lessons. as i said, i need granting authority to fix housing. we have got to continue to find ways to streamline fragmented recovery, funding comes from 17 different agencies, not just us and it's confusing to a governor. hud makes an announcement the other day it's one of the largest, you know, grants that the agency is proactively put down, but it's confusing to a governor on how they utilize fema fund, hud funding and funding that comes from these others to do the greatest good. i think we have a lot of work to do to streamline our efforts to do the greatest good and ultimately build more mitigation and recovery efforts as well. we also -- i'm asking for authorities to increase state management cost. so it's not just the grants that we need to provide to state and local governments to kick start programs, but the management cost is probably the most beneficial tool that they can have. right now, for example, on a disaster we provide them 3.34%
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in management cost based on the total of public assistance dollars that we obligated. that number needs to rise to 12% and that gives a state the ability to hire their own force account labor or hire consulting firms to help them with staff augmentation or technical expertise they don't currently have because i believe that preparedness is everybody's responsibility from the citizen all the way to the governors to the states. disasters change, as threats change we cannot do it all at fema. we cannot continue to fund and supplement programs in their entirety and we have to have an honest conversation about is there too much of a gap between the federal government and what state and local governments are doing. i'm here to have that conversation. but based on the major lessons learned that we had, based on comments of reaching out to our stakeholders we took 2,300 comments from internal staff members and stakeholders and i'm asking the question what do you want fema to be good at, what are we, where do we need to be
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going forward in the future. we did a trend analysis based on what we got back and we came up with three primary goals, one, as i've said before, goal one, prepare a culture of preparedness. our citizens are a true first responder, how do we open up more low to no cost options of preparedness to our citizens and provide them more training to do things like cpr. the red cross has a statistic that one in four of us will do cpr in our lifetime. are you trained? are you ready to go? you the true first responder after an active shooter or tornado. you know, the second thing is that i'm aligning the budget, my assets, to also begin tackling the robust strategic plan. so, for example, under building a culture of preparedness the $522 million grant, competitive grant that's listed in the budget would help me to started a dressing, evolving issues. so much of the grant funding is tied to older style 9/11 traditional attacks which could happen today obviously, but it
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doesn't give you much freedom to be able to tackle new evolving threats such as soft target active shooter events or cyber security. so this would help me to -- these grants would help me to build more of a culture of preparedness. the other thing about culture of preparedness is we have to invest, but also incentivize the state and local governments to step up and do land use planning and pass building codes and more pre disaster mitigation. the cuts in pre disaster mitigation the amount of funding that's always been traditionally in there is not enough. i'm asking for a holistic fix to do mitigation up front and a much larger amount rather than on the back end. so i'm not even sure that 40, 50 or $60 million in pre disaster mitigation really makes a difference when you look at the grand scheme that we need to harden our capabilities going forward. i'm the biggest believer in insurance as well when it comes to people and when it comes to
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self-insured cities. we've got to close the gap on insurance under that building a culture of preparedness. i want to work with you to do so. the second goal is ready the nation for catastrophic disasters. i don't believe this nation is ready to go for low to no notice events like earthquakes or earthquakes in california, you know, cascadia and in many cases we have a lot of work to do and we have to bolster state and local capabilities to do their own commodities when it comes to emergency life sustaining life sustainment commodities to not just be dependent on fema to be providing everything. i'm not so sure we are that good that we can get there right after a no notice event and we have to build baseline capabilities at all levels of government because that's the best way response can work is a unified whole community effort. so underneath that there's things that we are looking for. i'm worried about the wall of work that is coming to my agency as a result of what we just went through. if you look back at 2017 my
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agency picked up a new event every three days. every three days we picked up a new event. i need staff members and we're asking for that in this budget underneath goal two, we're asking for 41 staff internally because i can reimburse everybody else but i can't reimburse my own agency and as we pick up more disasters i'm worried about the operational capacity to do -- to respond to anything from congressional inquiries to processing paperwork to ultimately get money out down the road. i'm asking for a down payment, you know, in this budget to help me bolster my staff internally as well and then maybe the next year i will continue to see the ramifications of what we've seen. finally reduce the complexity of fema is goal three. i'm the agency's worst, you know -- the biggest critic of the agency. i know that there are things that we can do. there are policies i want to strike down. there are things i want to clear up and within this goal there's
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specific budget requests for grants management modernization. i inherited an agency that has ten different i.t. systems to manage ten different grants. why do we not just have one? but it takes money and understanding to how to consolidate those efforts and i want to streamline it and make it simple as well as streamline the disaster survivor and grantee experience. so, mr. chairman, the one thing i would like to also explain is there has been a lot of misunderstanding about puerto rico and the recovery as well. recovery has been ongoing since day one. a lot of emergency response and recovery projects are in place. i was in puerto rico last week, met with the governor and we are now starting -- we have finalized the dialogue on 428 to move forward on how to build a more resilient puerto rico. 428 is the best way to move forward not just for puerto rico but for communities in the future because we're giving you
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a budget, it's outcome driven recovery which fema has never really had. it says how does the state of california want their recovery to go as a result of this wildfire so that we are not back again. governor, you know best, local communities, you know best, so let's design that outcome driven recovery now up front, let's put the money towards it and let's work towards that and if you manage that budget, governor, say very aggressively, whatever is left over you can keep and put in and incentivize pre disaster products you would like to see that were not factored into the original project work sheets. right now if we attack puerto rico we would be writing thousands and thousands of project work sheets that would get reis versioned year over year over year and i'm not sure that we would be working toward a common recovery outcome. so we were able to put that in into place, it's not something that you want to rush, it's something that you want to be very calculated and deliberate
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about and the federal emergency management agency has no incentive to see anybody fail in recovery. i do not want to be back in these communities fixing infrastructure again. we can't afford to rebuild the way the infrastructure was before the event knocks them out. we have to do better and factor in predisaster mitigation before and after all of these events. i'm here in the spirit of improvement. thank you, mr. chairman. that concludes my comments. >> thank you. we are going to go five minute time, five minutes. by the way, i want to thank everybody for being here. speaks well of you because this is a day that we have a full house. i'm proud of everybody being here. i will start off and then i will go to miss allard.
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>> congress has provided more than $445 billion to address requirements from last year's unprecedented disaster activity. can you give us an update on recovery efforts for harvey, irma and maria. >> each one of these disasters, you can't compare disasters, you are not looking at apples to apples, it's apples to oranges based on how these communities were impacted, whether geographically located, how strong was the infrastructure before the storm as well as, you know, the liquidity issues in the budgets and how they were managed. so each one is dramatically different. as i said earlier out of the $22 billion that we've obligated up to this point and that number changes every day, up to this point $11 billion has been placed towards puerto rico and roughly i believe $5 billion has been put forward towards harvey.
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it's largely because of the types of damages that we see and the types of infrastructure that we are trying to fix but these recovering are ongoing. in puerto rico specifically i'm about to become the largest employer. we have already done close to 1,500 local hires. what we are trying to do there is not only set forward an outcome driven recovery for what it's going to look like next, but i'm having to rebuild an entire arm of emergency management at the commonwealth level as well as the local level, which is why we are taking the initiative to do local hires. we are training them, qualifying them in the fema qualification system so that we ultimately leave a very strong and robust capability in emergency management there for years to come. when it comes to texas, yeah, we have major challenges, you know, when it comes to housing. we are going to have challenges in housing puerto rico which is the most frustrating aspect of recovery where i need your help to change -- we need granting authority. if i can give governor abbott,
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for example, granting authority, he could take funding from me and do housing the way he sees best. he could buy tent cities, do direct construction, he could buy travel trailer, do a manufactured house and he doesn't have to adhere to my bulky laws but his state laws and he could do it much quicker and efficiently than i could. but right now the way it has to work is i've got to do an inter service and governmental agreement with the governor and he has to follow my bureaucratic process which slows things down. we've got to fix it because i have never heard of a recovery housing mission that has ever sought praise from anybody. which is a real problem. there is a lot that's going on, but i have thousands of people in the field right now, 65% of my agency is still deployed and it's not these four events that we are working, i'm working disasters in 35 states and local territories that have been impacted this year.
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i couldn't be more proud of my staff and what we are going through and the sacrifices they have put forward and they continue to serve others. thank you. >> i agree the staff has done a really fantastic job. but estimates for hurricane maria beyond fy 18 and the california wildfires were not available when the last supplement came out. do we have a better estimate for disaster now or will another supplemental be needed to address those needs, if so with can he expect to receive knows supplemental request for funding to support the disasters and will that request cover the entire life of the disaster for hurricane maria or should we expect multiple supplemental requests? >> so right now, you know, it's hard to project how much it's going to cost. some of the initials like for puerto rico some of the initial estimates total damage estimates for puerto rico range anywhere between 40 and $50 billion as we
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start to look at the levels of damage in the infrastructure. that number could change as we dig deeper into the damage assessments and understand what really needs to be done to make it resilient. those numbers could change. as far as requesting another supplemental we are just not there yet, but i'm not going to allow my agency to get too close before we have to ask for your support. so we will maintain and double down on communication to the congress as well as omb when it comes to a critical point of we think we are going to run out of funding. i can get you the numbers on the other -- >> if you've got other supplemental coming which i would assume you do. >> right. >> maybe you don't assume that. in that last supplemental we had requests and we didn't have information to give us information we needed to see the picture. >> right. >> so if you're going to do other supplemental that's why i ask that question, on the wildfires and maria we didn't have estimates.
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i know that you flooded the place with people making estimates, you should have a better picture now than before. >> sure. >> i can tell you that when i was in houston i was with building contractors and they said there's 186,000 remodels estimated to be in houston right now and a market that builds 50,000 to 100,000 homes a year. they can't even build the homes for lack of labor. they can't even meet goals in home building with the lack of labor and how are we ever going to have enough labor to do these lesser jobs because a framing contractor looking at a remodel, looking at a new home, there is no choice there. >> sure. >> he's going to build a new home. makes more money off of it, it's easier because he doesn't have walls and things he has to tear out. so it's going to be a real challenge. it may not be even fema's job to
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direct, but ultimately that's things we have to fix. >> yes, sir. >> this new plan by putting it in the hands of the government which at least my governor i'd like to see that, it may be a good idea. it sounds like a good idea. you know, turning the ship of state is a little tedious process. >> mr. chairman, you know, when it comes to reducing disaster costs i think we need to look at the categories of damage that fema pays for through the stafford act. in some cases i scratch my head as to why fema reimburses state and local governments for building in contents that could be picked up by private insurance companies. why are we paying to fix facilities that could be insured? and that right there would save a tremendous -- would save billions of tax paying dollars and would help fema to further
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work with solid public private sector partnerships in the insurance arena. which would reduce the need for supplemental requests down the road. when you get to these big, big disasters, our data would suggest that paying for public builds and contents that are uninsured or self-insured, one of the greatest expenses that we have is taxpayers and i question why are we doing that? >> i think that's a good question to ask. and that may require some legislation at this level and if it's as you view it, have conversations with members of congress about it. >> yes, sir. >> because if we are going to have to write legislation to redirect things, i think that's what we do for a living. >> yes, sir. >> well, i will yield now. >> administrator long i think in your opening statement some of the comments you have made to some degree you have already
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answered some of the -- our questions that i had, but i would like to ask them anyway and give us an opportunity to either add or to elaborate on what your efforts and your needs are. last fall the president issued major disaster declarations for areas of california that were ravaged by wildfires. this came on the heels of several fire management assistance declarations for california in the preceding days. i understand that fema has already obligated $230 million in fire management assistant grants for fy 2018 and these grants are funded either the disaster relief fund base account. is there sufficient funding in the disaster relief fund base account to provide fire management grants for all eligible recipients and with regard to the drf base is the budget request enough if we have a fire and hurricane season
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similar to last year's? >> excellent question. it's my understanding, one, mother nature dictates how many fire management assistance grants we will have to put out and this past year was an unbelievable year. two, the drf as you guys know is kind of dictated by the bca and the formula that's put forward, my concern with wildfires and what we saw this year was the volume of wildfires can complete the drf towards the end of the fiscal year as we head into major hurricane season which requires us to come to you for supplemental request. the omnibus bill as i understand it did fix some of the problems that many of the governors were having problems with when there were fires occurring on federal lands which is not fema's responsibility. our role is to make sure that a fire doesn't get out of hand and become a major disaster declaration similar to what california put forth or was impacted by.
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i think that the insurance industry looks at california as probably the worst wildfire on the globe that we have ever seen. it's one of the disturbing events i have ever been a part o of. >> the supplemental appropriations bill for the hurricanes provided up to $4.9 billion for disaster loans. these loans would help local and territorial governments with the costs associated with operating their governments given that they are facing a lost revenues. in addition $300 million was provided for making loans to puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands to pay for the non-federal cost share of projects. my understanding is that the progress on making these loans has been a disappointingly slow and i understand that to date only $54 million in loans have
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been made to municipalities in puerto rico. i have three questions here. can you update us on the progress of these loans and why the application process takes so long. and for puerto rico are tema and treasury working on a long-term estimate for the need of these loans and going forward will fema and the department of the treasury be able to insure these loans more rapidly -- issue these loans more rapidly? >> thank you for the request he because there is a lot of confusion around this. yes, fema does administer the community disaster loan program and not to belabor this point, but because of the liquidity issues we were facing in the commonwealth, you know, treasury proactively and rightfully has stepped in to help us understand the situation but also for omb to understand the situation around how much liquidity puerto rico government actually has. and it's my understanding that
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when puerto rico's budget what this he have currently reaches a critical low point of $800 million then the loans can begin to be placed and puerto rico can draw down against them. so that was -- that was basically what the deal between treasury and the governor was worked out in puerto rico, but i can come back for, you know -- in writing for specifics. >> okay. i would appreciate it. mr. chairman, do we have time for a second round? >> i don't know. >> don't know. okay. then i will anticipate we do and yield back. >> ms. lowey. >> thank you very much and thank you for your presentation. administrator long, i understand that fema and the department of homeland security are looking to change the way risk is calculated for metropolitan areas. risk could impact the allocation of grant funding in both the
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state, homeland security grant program and the urban area security initiative. i'm aware that the threat is changing and we need to take that into account. my concern is that rather than relying on a robust analysis of threat vulnerability and consequences, the risk analysis will be tweaked to fit what is only a perception of the evolving threat. that would defeat the purpose of having a rigorous risk methodology at all. so has any independent third party outside of fema or department of homeland security looked at the proposed changes to the risk methodology and do you think it might be valuable to have an independent review from the gao or some other source of expertise before you change the method for calculating risk? >> sure. and, ma'am, i really appreciate the question as well because i don't want fema doing anything in a vacuum that becomes
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detrimental to anybody. so let me be clear. i'm a believer in doubling down on communication. and when it comes to third party review we typically rely on reaching out to the national emergency management association, international association of emergency managers. i don't have a problem with engaging gao, you know, as well because we want to do this right. the problem with the grant system is that i don't think that the federal government has ever done a good job of measuring return on investment or being able to -- and i don't believe that the old risk formula was actually a formula at all. so we have to be able to build a defensible formula that allows numerous communities access, you know, to funding to help them kick start recovery. when it comes to cost share and grants, i don't believe that it's fema's place to fully supplement a program through its cradle to grave lifecycle. i believe that state and local
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governments need to have skin in the game and i believe that these programs should be designed to kick start initiatives and help communities to graduate their budgets to be able to continue going down the road of a robust program in the future. >> i think that's an issue that is really critical, that we work together on. >> yes, ma'am. >> i understand your point of view and in some instances i would agree and in some i probably would not. >> sure. >> i just want to mention one other program, the nonprofit security grants in the state homeland security grant program. when secretary nielsen testified before the subcommittee i asked her about a new grant program i fought to include in the most recent omnibus. funding to non-profits located outside of areas designated to the urban area security initiative, really help those organizations improve security at a time when hate groups are on the rise across the country
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and communications large and small. according to recent reports by the southern poverty law center and the adl neo nazi groups grew by more than 20% in the past year, anti-semitic incidents rose by more than 90% in new york in 2017 alone and that's why i was so pleased to hear secretary nielsen state her intention to focus dh's efforts on hate groups widely, including white supremacy groups. this $10 million in funding will really help organizations like some of those in my district proactively combat the changing face of hate threat and violence. can you tell us when you expect the grant notice to be released and when do you think the funding will go out? >> i don't have an answer on the timing. we will definitely follow back on -- follow back up with you, but i would agree that this money -- the nongroftel
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organizations that are active in disasters are incredibly important, one of the most important pillars in the whole community and we depend on them. with he specifically depend on them to do things that we are bound by regulation that keep us from being nimble in some cases. we look forward to putting this money to work and will get back to you on the time frames. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for your presentation. you seem so well-informed and we are very honored to have a person of your caliber take on this responsibility. the chances -- the challenges are just incredible and i know we discussed puerto rico, so i won't bring that up today, but i hope you really stay on it because the tragedy was overwhelming. when you are up in that helicopter and you see all the homes without roofs and electric grid and the water and the food and the jobs. so thank you for your leadership and i hope you really stay on
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it. >> thank you, ma'am. >> and don't forget st. john's as well. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> mr. taylor. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. long, i appreciate you and your service and please give our best to everybody who is under you. i know that they have a challenging environment to work with as do you. lots of challenges i'm very happy to hear some of your comments about stream lining the agency and also i do want to touch on puerto rico just briefly. i was just down there last weekend and understanding that there are -- as we talked about just a little bit earlier about deferred maintenance and some issues with puerto rico themselves have had that were not prepared, if you will, but obviously we still have to go down there and help out to make sure we are doing everything we can to make them more resilient and have -- you know, that they have a more robust system. so one of the questions that i have i was speaking with the mayor down there and he was -- it's my understanding that, you
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know, the municipalities will spend their money of course to fix infrastructure and then get reimbursed, however, they don't have a lot of money, right, so then they sort of run out and it's not fixed or finished and we have another upcoming hurricane season. just curious what's happening to make things more efficient and is there a way to do so to make infrastructure the infrastructure is iks fixed before the next hurricane season? >> congressman, great question. i mean, just to be honest, there is no way we fix the infrastructure before next hurricane season. what we are trying to do is -- well, i can tell you we are pro actively when it comes to the money management and kick starting the projects and making sure project work sheets are being estimated and work is being done we are embedding staff with the 78 mayors and we have embedded staff a long time ago to be able to work with them directly to navigate. we are in the train the trainer process as well as i said earlier with the 1,500 local hires or approximately 1,500
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local hires that we have done. that's my army going out and basically helping these jurisdictions navigate. when it comes to the infrastructure, we have to remember, you know, for example, a lot of the power grid wasn't functioning before the storm. you guys gave me the authorities to fix that and then there's just so many -- we're putting temporary roadway systems in until roads can be rebuilt. so we just have a long way to go. we are going to be there for years. now, what we're doing to get ready for hurricane condition, we are rewriting emergency operations plans for all 78 jurisdictions, we are also rewriting plans for the commonwealth. on june 14 all of our efforts to write the plans, train upon the plans can going to be exercised on june 1 with a full scale exercise. i'm exponentially increasing the amount of food, water and supplies we have on the island and then we are going to run
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through plans of distribution for commodities and the commodities that we roll out during the expertise we will allow the municipalities to keep. >> one quick thing on the efficiency of reimbursements for the localities so they get money back to be able to do what they need to do locally, is that being looked at, i guess, to make sure they get reimbursed faster? >> right. in some cases we may be entering into what are called expedited processes to be able to get funding to them if there's liquidity issues or the lack of funding is there. we do that -- we did that in texas, we did it in numerous locations across the country, but i would be happy to respond to you in writing on how we're actually managing the money processes at the local levels. >> one quick question, is fema looking at new technology to help with disaster relief to get products faster. you mentioned housing, 3-d printing, housing and things like that. >> excellent question. so under the third goal of
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reduce the complexity of fema there's $124.6 million ask in the 19 budget for specifically critical infrastructure and analytics investment because we have to do a better job of understanding the interdependencies with our own agency but how we interact with the 16 critical infrastructure sectors to make sure that we are making the right decisions and putting money down in the best way we can. >> appreciate it. one more last thing, under the administration politically there has been some hits of course about reducing programs that have been helping with things like sea level rise, in hampton road that is an issue, we have soundings so there's sea level rise. so in terms of resilience and helping communities, is that something -- and let me also say there are a lot of programs in the government that need to go away, well intended but may not work well. in your mention of a culture of preparedness are we also working
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with resiliency in areas like miami and hampton roads and louisiana for sea level rise? >> sure. so, you know, i had a conversation the other day with a very talented forecasting from noa by the name of chris lancy, we were discussing the ocean seems to be rising one inch every ten years. obviously we have to start accounting for that. our strategic plan embodies this. that's why i'm asking for predisaster mitigation, a real mechanism to do predisaster mitigation up front where we are not having to negotiate or it doesn't get zeroed out every year by every president that goes forward. there is a mechanism to help communities to start to elevate roadway systems and infrastructure in anticipation of sea level rise. the other thing is that -- obviously fema isn't top sea level rise, that would be the equivalent of us saying we will halt all our earthquakes. what we can do is ready the nation for catastrophic disasters as well, but a lot of the flooding issue we anticipate
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that over 30% of the flooding that we see across the country is because of the built environment. the newly built environment and the way we are expanding without proper land use planning and building codes. there is a multitude of things we have to start putting forward and i think that disaster ris lens is in the hands of the state and local governments to pass the land use planning laws and building codes. my agency gets to deal with the consequences for the lack thereof. >> thank you. mr. brock. i appreciate t thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> mr. bryce. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, administrator long. happy to see you back here at the subcommittee to congratulate you on your good work and also acknowledge a fellow north carolinian. i hope you still claim that. >> headed there today. >> all right. >> maybe i will ride with you. >> maybe so. well, speaking of that, i have
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only one shot here, but i do want to ask a couple of questions and hopefully we can deal with both of them because they have to do with part of your broader support system, the national service volunteers who are playing an increasing role in disaster relief and recovery and then the work of the center at unc-chapel hill, the coastal resilience center, which i understand you are going to be addressing on monday which we are glad to know. both of these are problematic in the president's budget which is a nice word for being zeroed out. so that's why i bring them up. and i want to ask you about the value of these aspects of your support system. first national service. you know very well that all hands on deck are required as a north carolinian and now in your national role. volunteers are often a crucial part of the response and
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recovery. we did form a new national service unit, the fema core, in 2012. i understand that something like 4,000 national service slos were involved in 2017 alone in relief and recovery efforts. the act has forced multipliers. i'm going to ask you actually to describe what they do. what do these volunteers do to extend the reach of emergency relief and help ensure the long-term recovery of communities. why on earth would the administration zero out national service? are there any other barriers that exist to volunteers that congress should address? but i'm co-chair of the national service caucus, i have seen this firsthand in north carolina and so i'm baffled by the budget but i'm also of course encouraged by the support that they've increasingly -- volunteers from increasingly offered in our national recovery capacity.
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>> obviously taking this job -- taking this job i became administrator in a very tough budget environment and unfortunately cuts have to be made here and there and i've got multiple training facilities. like when it comes to universities i would love to be able to fund a ton of programs but i also have emi, i also have the center for domestic preparedness which are very expensive institutions dedicated to training and i almost have to -- i need to concentrate somewhat on my own shop within fema and then, you know, when it comes to fema core, it is a great program, you knew, the bottom line is that, you know, it provides a jumping on point, you know, for people to get involved in emergency management and we make a concerted effort to hire those who have gone through fema core into the disaster core positions on pft positions as they become available where we can. we try to do that. congressman, it's a tough -- tough calls have to be made and
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when it comes to -- and let me say this, it's not just providing money to state and local governments. i think 2017 should be a reflection point for state legislatures, local elected officials to reevaluate how much they are staffing and funding their emergency management programs. i cannot continue to supplant them in their entirety. i will go back to my experience as director of alabama emergency management agency, my budget was somewhere between 5 and $7 million to run a state emergency management agency. during the height of the 2017 season this year fema was spending that in the matter of an hour. i'm spending $300 million a day at the federal government level and literally that's -- you know, a general fund budget of a state agency is spent in less than two hours. there's too much of a gap. i'm also trying to combat the fact that there is a reduction in grants which makes up most of
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the budget cuts by introducing what we call fema integration teams. i'm ready to take the staff that i have out of my regional offices and out of headquarters and move them into the state agencies which we are embarking on this week, we are beginning to phase this out to where we are putting full-time staff in state agencies to be a part of the discussion every day but also to help them overcome the planning gaps that they may have when it comes to staffing as well. so it's not just funding, it's getting my people out, but i also as i said earlier the greatest thing that congress can do to help the states is increase the management cost from 3.34% to 12% and we can use disaster relief funding to help them augment their staffing capabilities. so it's not -- we can't just singularly look at grants. what are the multiple tools in the toolbox that we can collectively provide to states and that's the way i approach this job? >> mr. chairman, i know my name has expired so i'm going to ask
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the administrator to submit for the record a direct answer to my question about the role of national service volunteers in 2017 and otherwise and also to answer the question i was going to ask, had there been sufficient time, about the role of the coastal resilience center. >> i'll yield you that time. >> all right. well, thank you. let me just ask directly about that. if you have -- submit whatever you want to about the national service. you really didn't address that. and then this coastal resilience center. as i say, you're going to be there on monday. i'm sure you're going to be thanking them for what they've done. it's my understanding their storm surge modeling played a large role in fema and the coast guard's decision about where to place people and assets during hurricanes harvey and irma. i wonder if you can elaborate on that, and any of this you can elaborate on for the record. tell us more about the importance of the center's work and what are your thoughts about
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eliminating all the funding for this. >> so gavin smith, who runs the program, is a good friend of mine. he is a very smart mitigation minded subject matter expert. the bottom line is it boils down to here again it's a tough budget environment. should fema be funding universities, you know, and how many of these programs should we fund nationwide, or do i need to concentrate on, you know, do i need to concentrate on working with our partners. noaa also does storm surge modeling that we depend on. >> if that's the case, and my time is limited, if that's the case, if this is duplicative, if the work of the coastal resilience center isn't really needed, you need to document that. >> right. i'm not saying it's not needed. i'm just saying for me, i can't fund it all. >> is it redundant? >> i don't know enough about the program. >> well, i think somebody should look at this. i mean, this is siloed, it looks
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to me like. you're talking about budgets that aren't directly in your purview but certainly budgets you should care about. if it's important to your work, you should say so. we need some assurance that within the administration, these conversations are going on. and that functions that are critical to something as important as the work of fema, that those are highlighted and that if there is something we can safely e lliminate, we needo have the rationale for it. >> and i'm not at the point to tell you that. i'm going there to learn, to be honest. i appreciate everybody that's trying to put forward better information to fema. we have to be able to utilize it. here again, i only have so much funding. i have to make hard decisions, and we have to make hard decisions. i would be happy to respond to you in writing. once i learn more about the
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coastal resiliency center, i'd be happy to respond in writing about what we found. >> good. i will appreciate that. also, a response in terms of the more specifics about the national service input. >> sure. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> you're welcome. mr. price -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you mr. brock. thank you for being here today. i've known several fema administrators. you seem to be one of the best ones i've heard explain your agency, so thank you for your honest and clear answers. real quick, i'm from gulf port, mississippi, mississippi's fourth congressional district. one thing you can relate to is hurricane katrina. we were ground zero, and we took it right on the chin. it took almost a decade for us to, you know, be comfortable in our recovery. the one thing the gulf coast and
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not just in mississippi but coastal areas, any place that lives on or near the water, which is practically majority of the population in america, relies on insurance, the nfip program. mississippi alone is 64,000 nfip policies. in 2013, congress tried to improve the nfip program only to basically cause a lot of unforeseen problems. with that was the drastic rate increases on homeowners, who at no fault of their own were in the nfip program because it was a government program and it was the only insurance available. you know, that was a big concern. congress acted swiftly. i think the term was unintended
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consequences. now, the bill was tied to some other things, such as the restore act, which was the delivery of the penalties from the bp oil spill and a two-year surface transportation extension. so the fact that we were going to find a longer term solution to nfip, the reauthorization, because prior to there were 16 or more short-term reauthorizations. obviously those reauthorizations and the fear of it expiring and you can't get a mortgage if you're required to have flood insurance, so it was affecting homeownership, home building, you know, economic development. it's just uncertainty and instability of the market. well, guess what. fast forward, you know, the house has passed a bill which is impassable. it has some good reforms. there's no way it'll ever pass the senate because it's going to increase rates on homeowners. and it's going to cause market
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disruption. but we're for moving as much of this to the private sector as possible. there's not a private sector market right now in many areas. so i guess the thing is, can you tell me the fact we haven't reauthorized the program, it looks like we're constantly searching for must-pass reauthorization to tie it to. is that having any effect on your agency right now? >> well, the problem -- well, thanks to the congress, those supplements helped us in debt forgiveness right off the bat. every time we have a massive event, it gets to a point where fema can't even pay the interest bill anymore on the nfip program. we need to make the nfip program financially solvent. i don't have all the answers on that, but sometimes i think we may be attacking it in the wrong manner. so for example, any house in the united states can flood. why are we just solely focused on these flood zones. what we learned from harvey is
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thousands of homes can flood outside those zones not depicted in there, particularly if street drains are not well maintained or the built environment changes the flood zone quicker than the mapping changes. so every house can flood. we're working -- until there's a legislative fix, i'm working and my mitigation guys are working with the private industry through reinsurance. i believe we've offset some of that cost and save taxpayers with getting them to back us up through reinsurance. the thing about nfip and what runs through my mind, and we would have to talk to the private sector to start a dialogue, but why is flood insurance not connected to every insurance policy in america? why is there not an all hazards insurance policy every time you buy a house? so you reduce the cost, spread it out. it becomes more affordable. i mean, i don't know why we have to have this a la carte system
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of you got to have fire insurance that you can let lapse if you've paid off your house. you can choose or not choose to buy nfip flood insurance if you're outside a special flood hazard zone. why are we not working with the private industry on a more innovative solution of saying can we get to an all-hazards based insurance package for a homeowner. >> all hazards sounds good to me. so i want to be very sensitive with my time. thank you, mr. brock. i have several questions related to mapping on the mississippi gulf coast compared to my neighbors in louisiana and alabama. i'll submit those for the record. thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks for being here. we have a lot of people who ask questions, but it seems to me you're pretty well respected, and that's based on your actions. a good manager is only as good as his team, so i'm sure you
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have a good team too. you're one of the most important agencies in the government, i think, because you protect the american people and our critical infrastructure from a host of evolving threats. it's one of the only agencies which the public hopes never have to deal with. when you see a fema van or tent, you know something tough or terrible has happened. however, you face that tragedy. last year you think was the worst year fema has ever had, correct? >> i would argue yes. >> during this time, fema -- i think you delivered 138 million meals, 194 million liters of water, and 1,310 generators to power critical facilities supporting survivors impacted by the four major hurricanes. while improvements can always be made, i think your agency should be impressed with its good work. i want to focus on one issue
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today. that's support security grants. i represent the port of baltimore. i've been involved in a lot of port security issues and written reports on that issue. i'm discouraged by the administration's sufficient funding request for the port security grand program. this program was included in the original department of homeland security authorization. in my eyes, this is clear evidence that congress recognize the urgent need to secure our ports. each year america's ports generate 4.6 trillion in revenue and employ 23 million people throughout the country. now with the expansion of the panama canal, we can only expect to see even more of an increase in that area. the bottom line is that the economic impact of sea ports can not be understated. according to the brookings center for the 21st century security and intelligence, it would take a small attack on our ports to grind u.s. commerce to a halt within days. thus the need for port security cannot be understated. for this reason, we need to protect our maritime infrastructure. the port security grant program
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assists both large and small ports with chemical, biological, nuclear, and explosive detention. funding can also go towards bolstering cybersecurity ca capabilities and implementing transportation worker identification credential card systems. my questions, i have three. first, in your opinion, do you believe the port security grant program has been a valuable tool in combatting terrorism? to me, a cut to this program implies our ports have -- and do you believe our ports are being built for resiliency against rising sea levels and storms which are increasing in intensity and frequency. >> when it comes to port security, it's my understanding that we spent quite a bit of money through grants to build a baseline capability. what we don't do a good job of in the federal government, when it comes to the return on investment, is what point do we build that baseline and have a handoff to the port authorities and to the state and the local
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governments and should grants start to graduate and reduce over time as we build a baseline capability. or do we just keep continuing to grow this budget and the grants indefinitely and basically i become the person that supplements these grants in entirety. what happens tomorrow is the threat changes. i've got to find new money to address this problem or that problem. i think that this is one of those grants where we've built a tremendous capability. but where's the handoff. i'm fairly asking the question, where is the handoff to the port authorities and state and local governments as well as the private sector. >> in my opinion, it's based on which port, the management of the different ports. but that's why in the beginning, i talked about how important ports are. trillions of dollars. just a shut down. i think when we had a strike at the port in california. this is a tremendous industry with a lot of vulnerability. a lot of drugs coming in.
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yesterday we talked about how i don't think any port has the manpower to deal with the drugs coming in, especially fentanyl. i would suggest that you look at it, and you need to manage where the money is going. i think the federal government has to step in when it relates to ports. >> thank you, sir. is. >> thank you, mr. charm. appreciate your work, especially appreciate your clearly earnest and sincerity to get the money out the door to front load the funding for disaster victims, to put it in the hands of property owners who are going to take the best possible care of their own property. get it out in the hands of governors and local authorities is the right way to do it. i'm convinced that your approach and your attitude lies the heart of the reason donald trump was elected president. people feel the government is so badly broken that they elected this guy from outside of the entire process as a businessman to just get things fixed and done. they just want action.
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and decisive action. i would encourage you as someone who's served -- i started in the texas house and served here in congress, and know that if a law is maybe a little ambiguous or seems to leave you an opening, just do it. i mean, get to yes. i've heard you say that before. we had a very good-meaning governor. don't tell you the reasons you can't do something. tell you the reasons you can do it. i encourage you to just be bold and assertive and to get to yes. if the law looks like it's ambiguous or gives you an opening, just do it. you've been terrific. when it comes to requests that we as texans have submitted to you. i asked you to extend hotel stays for disaster victims you've done so. concur that extreme circumstances existed to contracting could be expedited. you did so. but there are a couple other really small fixes that you've got authority right now to do
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that would make a dramatic difference for homeowners who -- thousands of whom are living on the second floor of their homes in my district with all the sheet rock torn out on the first floor. they have -- because many times they were denied rental assistance. if you go to the fema website and log on to the fema.gov website and ask, what specific items are covered by housing assistance, it tells you this housing assistance includes reimbursement for short-term hotel expenses, money to rent a place to live for up to 18 months while your home is being repaired. does my income matter? well, the law says no, it doesn't matter. in fact, your website says, question, does my income need to be under a certain dollar amount to qualify? answer, no. fema's housing assistance program is available regardless of income to anybody who suffered damage or losses. but that's not the way the
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bureaucrats in fema are administering the program. they are denying rental assistance to thousands of my constituents who have sunk all their money in their home. they're not wealthy. they've got kids in college, a mortgage that they're still paying on a home that's flooded out. and they're having to pay rent in a lot of cases to stay in the school district. a lot of expenses. and they're being denied rental assistance. but you have the authority literally to just change that. and comply with what is on your website. would you please do that? and how quickly can you do that? >> congressman, as we spoke the other day -- >> i've been on you about this. >> no, no, no, and i appreciate it. i wasn't aware of the issue until you raised it. so the bottom line is that it spawned the very deliberate conversations, and we're going to be entering into the rule making process to look at a whole host of why do we put these ramifications on individual assistance to begin
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with, right. >> but you could do this. >> some of it, yeah. >> don't have the lawyers arguing with each other. just get it done. that's what this election was about. >> i will continue to work with you. i appreciate you raising the issue. as you know, i am always in a rock and a hard place when it comes to being deliberate and understanding. that policy that was put into place, i found out the other day it was put in as a result of the 2001 events, the terrorism events in new york. i'm trying to understand why. i'm trying to understand what the ramifications are by moving it, but we're trying to move as quickly as we can, and i'll stay in contact with you. >> you're a bold and decisive person. i can tell you're letting the lawyers discourage you and slow you up. don't do that. it's clear as a bell. just go for it. this hazard mitigation grant program is another one i'm concerned about. as i understand it, the state of texas will receive 1.1 billion in fema hazard mitigation grant program funding this year, but it's awarded to the states on a
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formula basis after a presidentially declared disaster impacts an area. administrator long, could you describe, please, how these programs -- what types of projects these funds can be used for and how quickly this money will flow to the state of texas, and what role does fema play in approving the projects and what kind of projects have been proposed so far? >> you know, i don't know what they proposed so far, but the hmgp post disaster mitigation program is based on a percentage of public assistance dollars. i think it's -- i'll get you the exact formula. i think it's like 15% of the public assistance dollars that we put forward in a disaster becomes available in post-disaster mitigation. the cost share on that is set by the stafford act of 75/25. so i don't have any authority that i'm aware of to be able to waive that 25%.
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as far as the is -- we can serve as an adviser, but going back to states' rights, the governor is in control of that response and recovery. so what my job is, is to make sure that, you know, governor abbott -- we're helping to meet his mitigation recovery goals. >> that's what we want to hear so texas can move along more quickly. and mr. chairman, if you'll permit me since we have this one round and so many folks hurting, can i ask quickly about the dollar program? thank you, sir. does that direct assistance for limited home repair program administered by the general land office and unincorporated areas of houston, and i've heard from constituents there's been a lot of confusion and delay regarding this dollar program. i understand the glo plans to end the program, the general land office, for the unincorporated parts of the city of houston and harris county and that the city of houston only recently got under way with administration of the program within the city limits. it's been really spotty. are you aware, what's the current status of the program?
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what can you do to take a blow torch to it? >> here again, what would fix this problem is granting authority on housing. if you can give me the granting authority to provide funding to a governor, down through a governor, to allow that governor to control housing and do housing in the way he or she would like to, it would -- a governor will outmanage us, do it more efficient and effectively. the problem with the inner service government agreement and the reason we went this way is i don't have enough manufactured homes to handle the flooding in houston. the population of harris county alone is more than puerto rico. >> there's 186,000 homes being remodeled. >> right. and so we had to put numerous options on the table. i put travel trailers back on the table. they were taken off the table for some reason because i knew that there was going to be a shortage in housing. we tried to be innovative in this agreement. governor abbott boldly and courageously stepped up to lead
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the effort. the problem is, the mechanism is not right. i'll admit it now. i think it would be better -- because he's got to do it here and purchase housing or provide funding to the homeowner under my bulky code of federal regular rations and not the states. >> much better going through the state. i thank the chairman for the extra time. it's appropriate as we celebrate thomas jefferson's 275th birthday today that we remember that the founders intended, mr. jefferson in particular, that the states administer things that affected only the states. jefferson liked to say regularly if we would just follow the constitution and apply that standard to any problem, no matter how complicated, the knot will always untie itself. you're on the right track. governor abbott, let texas run texas. we'll take care of it. >> thank you. >> thank you, judge.
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>> i'm going to start off. once again, a program it looks like you're about to eliminate which i have a lot of interest in, disaster preparedness consortium. my state is a state with a lot of big cities, but it's a great big place. we got more little towns than we got big cities. and the training center at texas a&m university trains our first responders. literally every small town in texas is blessed by that being able to train. to say that we no longer are going to have that available is to say that two-thirds of my
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state is going to have both medical and fire fighting at a minimal level. i don't understand -- i would like to explain why that is necessary. now, if it's because it's administered by a university, and i can understand prejudice against big universities. they're like big government. they don't look at where the digits are maybe as desperately as they should. but that's a management issue, if that's the case. but to cut off all funding to things like what we're doing in texas --
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now, we got the best training ranges in the entire united states army at ft. hood with the exception of the national training center. okay. that's where you learn the best. you train, and we're great trainers. we've got great soldiers, and they're well trained. but they all go through the national training center before they go to war, if it's available to us. therefore, you save lives, you're more effective, you win battles. that's what this consortium is doing for the small towns and midsize towns of my state. and of every state in this union. if it's the fact that universities are attached to it, then let's figure out a way to make it better. explain to me why basically you're saying, i know, i've
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heard, we got to make cuts and all that stuff. but i'm telling you, you will harm -- my district is basically suburban. but you're still going to harm about 25 towns in my district. >> yeah, and by no means do we want to harm anybody. i'm just in a rock and a hard place when it comes to where i can prioritize our funding in a tough environment. when it comes to texas a&m and the texas system, look, it's a phenomenal system. if i remember correctly, we actually hired their engineering students to do home inspections. we had to perform over 2.4 million home inspections this year, which is, one, we got to get to better technology and stop doing the manual process. we are trying to find ways to engage universities. universities do great work. i'm in a rock and a hard place when it comes to what we can fund and what we can't. i would love to be able to fund them all, but it's just not
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reality. >> that seems to be your answer. i'm all for going in and doing surgery on the federal government. i think it's a great idea. >> i'd be happy to work with you, sir. >> but i don't understand how to explain to some little small town that has one fire truck and the only people that get to train them is go to a&m. i've graduated kids from high school. i taught sunday school for 25 years. i've got at least five firefighters that i know of. nirvana for a firefighter in a small town is to go to a&m to that training center. they come back with confidence. they know how to fight chemical fires. they know how to fight vehicle fires. they don't just know how to squirt water on a grass fire. they're better in every way for the people that live in their town for going there. all i say is if it's wasteful, let's figure out a way to not be
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wasteful. if you need share from the state, let's go a cooperative with the states or the locals or whatever it needs, add a fee, whatever it needs. to kill it is a pretty disastrous thing. >> sure. >> administrator, as you can imagine, i get a lot of questions about puerto rico and what's happening in puerto rico. so my last two questions are related to puerto rico. six months after maria devastated puerto rico, the island still has a long way to go, as we've discussed. according to press reports, fema has received claims for assistance to repair over 1 million homes on the island, but fewer than 40% of those have been paid. and one reason for this delay is apparently a difficulty for residents to prove they own their homes. and it has been reported that some transactions are based on
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verbal agreements and handshakes and never officially recorded. other survivors may have lost official documents during the storm. fema needs to find a way and a long-term solution or some residents may never be able to return home. so what the current plan to help these homeowners? do you need additional authority from congress to help solve this problem? and finally, will you commit -- if you need help from us, will you commit to viproviding us wi technical assistance on what is needed to fix the problem, including the authority to reimburse individuals who have made repairs at their own expense. >> excellent question. you hit the nail on the head. this is a unique situation about homeownership that the agency has never run into before. i don't know if the legislative fix or a policy fix, but what the concerning factor is, is that to protect the tax paying
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dollar, i have to make sure if i'm providing funding to fix a house, that it actually gets done. and it's not that we don't trust anybody to do that. we're a very trusting organization. if i do it and it turns into waste, fraud, and abuse, then i'll be called back before this committee again, saying i leaned too far forward. so let me get back to you on whether or not it's a legislative fix because it may need -- i may need once again to ask you for special authority, similar to looking the other way on the deferred maintenance piece. we don't fix things that were not well maintained typically in disaster. i'm called before oig again, you know, and you're asking questions of why i'm doing that. so let me get back to you on whether or not it's a special authority or not. >> okay. and then my final question is, i know that you've said that conditions on the island make recovery very difficult, which we've talked about. a recent ap news story reported
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that in one village, detailed their struggles with getting running water. speaking about this, one area of the town, a resident said practically no one has shown up here. the story is dated march 16th, 2018. it reports that they still didn't have running water or electricity and had not received the generator they had requested. i had my staff share the article with your staff so that the subcommittee can get more details about what is going on there and to have a better understanding of an area where the recovery seems to be struggling. can you share what you found out? are there any areas where we can be helpful? and is this a good example of other areas in puerto rico that are also struggling to recover? >> so excellent question. there's a lot of misunderstanding on the water. so a majority of the system that
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services an overwhelming number of the population in puerto rico is back up and running. a lot of it's running. some of it's running on emergency power. i have not read the article, but what i would probably assume is if it's a private well, what we typically do in that situation, if it's a private well that's not operational or is no longer usable, we have to understand whether or not you can put a generator on that well to pump the water out. if so, what type of generator. and if i remember correctly, we're working a i signing the epa to be able to go in and do that. if not, we're still mobilizing water to communities like that through water trucks or buffalos or bottled water. we're working with ngos to make sure they're getting out. we can follow up on any specific area. i'd be happy to do that. you know, make sure we're not leaving any stones unturned. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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administrator long, this assistance thing is really a problem. it really bothers me a lot. we have people that are on the drink of being eight months since the storm made landfall. the stafford act says you can't discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed. the rule online says you will not discriminate on the basis of income. this is a desperate problem for people. the law is clear. your rule is clear. there's no reason for there to be any delay with this. you've got the authority. i know your heart's in the right place. i guarantee you it's lawyers arguing with each other that's got you worried. i'm a pretty good lawyer myself. i'm relentless. i don't turn loose once i get ahold of something, do i, judge? i'm not turning loose of this. you've got the authority to do this. i'll tell you, i'm going to use every tool this committee's got to help the lawyers, not you, it's the lawyers underneath you that are the problem. i figured out a way to get the
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department of justice to change the sanctuary city policy without ever passing a bill. no language in my cjs bill. just using good common sense, good lawyering, and existing law. i'm telling you, the law supports you on this. i'm counting on you to get this done. i'm not turning loose of it. you can do this immediately. tell those lawyers get out of the way. >> okay. >> i'm coming. >> thank you, sir. >> i really appreciate that. that's very important. these people are really hurting. >> understand. >> that's something you can do right away to help them. deeply appreciate it. >> thank you. >> you can also -- one other thing you've got authority to do is to let people use the mitigation grants when a property is purchased. the law is ambiguous. i believe it gives you a little daylight where you could give the homeowner the flexibility to use that grant to lift a new structure. right now they are limited to lifting an exhausting structure,
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whi -- existing structure. nobody is going to do a better job than the governor. that's the genius of what the founders left us. let local and state authorities handle things that affected themselves. so are you familiar with this? can you take -- >> i'm not familiar with the exact issue, but i will go back to my region six staff to make sure i fully understand it. >> thank you. >> absolutely. >> i think this is one you do have the discretion to let the grant -- because today the grant is only being used to lift an old existing structure. >> i'll take a look at that. >> thank you very much. really appreciate it. look forward to working with you and the chairman to help resolve this rental assistance problem and others. anything else you need. thank you. >> thank you. >> we thank you for coming here today. i commend you for trying to fix a broken system.
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the issue that it always affects is when you fix a broken system and you don't mine down into it to see what the consequences are going to be. i think we heard a lot about that today. don't give up on trying, but mine down in there and see if there's alternatives. >> yes, sir. >> it's really what we need to look to do. i'm no fan of the federal government running everything, but when you think about it, there's x number of states in the union that historically have disasters. if the burden is put all on those states, those states are going to be overburdened as we try to make sure that the economy of the entire nation functions effectively. for one thing, the gulf coast is where i would argue probably 80% of all the petroleum we produce in this country is refined.
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therefore, a major -- could be lost if we didn't do a lot of work down there on the coast. it's not refined in other places, therefore that becomes a federal nexus, in my opinion. i just encourage you to keep trying. but think about asking and learn about the consequences, especially to the little guy. the little guys, they don't have the resource of the big boys. >> sure. >> you got anything further? all right, then we'll recess, and thank you for being here.
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tonight, former maryland lieutenant governor and michael cohen discuss the evolution of liberal politics in 1968. it was part of washington journal's series on 1968 "america in turmoil." see that tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. and on c-span2, the ninth circuit u.s. court of appeals
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hears oral argument in the case of san francisco versus donald trump. that's a case looking at the president's executive order to deny federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. hear that oral argument tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. tonight, a c-span profile interview with principal deputy white house press secretary raj shah. he spoke about his family, growing up in connecticut, as well as his early beginnings in politics. mr. shah also looked at the relationship between the media and the white house as well as what it's like working for president trump. see that interview at 9:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. and saturday, c-span's 2020 road to the white house coverage continues with remarks from missouri's former secretary of state jason kander. he'll speak at the new hampshire democratic party dinner after recently hinting at a presidential run in two years.
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see that event live saturday at 5:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. you can also listen live on the free c-span radio app. sunday on c-span's q&a, hoover institute senior fellow and author niall ferguson on his book. >> what's striking to me when i interact with these groups is not their power but often their sense of powerlessness. if you think about the events of 2016, just to take an example, not many members of the supposed world government planned that britain would vote to leave the european union and that donald trump would become president of the united states. donald trump is definitely not somebody who gets invited to those meetings. so then, for example, take the financial crisis. the events of 2008 and '09. nobody sat there at the meeting
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in 2008 saying, i think what we really need for the world government is a massive financial crisis. >> q&a sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. monday on landmark cases, brandenburg versus ohio. clarence brandenburg was convicted of hate speech under an ohio law, but the supreme court unanimously ruled the state law violated his first amendment right. our guest to discuss this case are nadine strossen, law professor at new york law school in manhattan, and katie fallow from the first amendment institute. watch landmark cases monday and join the conversation. our #is landmarkcases. follow us at c-span. we have resources on our website for background on each case. the landmark cases companion book, a link to the national
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constitution center's interactive constitution, and the landmark cases podcast at c-span.org/landmarkcases. next, a four rum on the iss of robo calls. this was co-hosted by the fcc and the federal trade kplig commission. it's close to three hours. >> good morning, everyone. and welcome to the fcc, ftc policy forum on fighting the scourge of illegal robo calls. i'm patrick weber, chief of the consumer and governmental affairs bureau. we're very pleased to join forces with the ftc to further the fight against illegal robo

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