FEMA is Broken, Needs to Be Independent

The reason we are here today is because FEMA is broken and needs to be restored as a smooth functioning agency. Putting FEMA, which was once a nimble 2,500 person agency, into a massive bureaucracy of 190,000 workers was a major mistake. The bipartisan legislation introduced by myself and other members of the House will remove FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security and restore it as an independent agency.

Congress created the Dept. of Homeland Security to prevent terrorism, and FEMA's mission of preparing for all types of disasters was neglected by the Department. As a result, in two short years, FEMA went from being one of the most effective and respected Federal agencies into what we saw during Hurricane Katrina. Previously, FEMA had a track record of effectiveness. FEMA responded effectively to natural disasters, like the Northridge earthquake and the Midwest floods in 1993. It also responded well to terrorist attacks, like the Oklahoma City bombing and the attacks of 9/11.

Our bill will restore FEMA as it once was, make it a cabinet-level agency, and make it stronger. This bill will allow DHS to focus on its primary mission of preventing terrorism and give FEMA the authority and stature it needs to lead the nation in preparing for and responding to disasters of all kinds, including terrorism.