Senator floats bill to forgive disaster debt owed over FEMA's mistakes


1) If disaster assistance was distributed on a FEMA error.

2) If no fraud or misrepresentation occurred on part of the debtor.

3) If collection of debt would be against "equity and good conscious.

Pryor said he was sensitive to the fact that many in Washington are worried about government spending but that FEMA still had a responsibility to deal fairly with those it helps.

“I know right now in the Congress we are very money-conscious, and that’s good, we are pinching pennies," said Pryor. "But one of the things our government should do … is they should consider equity and they should consider doing things in good conscience."

Pryor described one family in Arkansas that received emergency assistance from FEMA after a flood damaged their home.

Pryor said FEMA assisted the family and assured them they were covered, for free, under a federal program. 

The family, which lives off of Social Security checks, now, owes FEMA $27,000, which they cannot pay, said Pryor.

“I feel in this case FEMA has done these people harm,” he said. “They gave them some money, now they are trying to jerk out the rug under them and get the money back.”


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