S. 2971 would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to specifically authorize operations of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System through 2019. The bill would authorize the appropriation of such sums as may be necessary for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue to administer that system. Under current law, the system maintains and manages emergency search and rescue teams and coordinates with state and local governments to mobilize those teams in the case of a natural disaster, terrorist activity, or other emergency.
CBO estimates that implementing S. 2971 would cost $110 million over the 2017-2021 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to this legislation because enacting it would not affect direct spending or revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting S. 2971 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
S. 2971 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), by eliminating an existing right to seek compensation for damages and by requiring employers to allow members of the urban search and rescue response system to reclaim their jobs upon completing a deployment to a disaster. Based on information from FEMA, CBO estimates that the cost to comply with the mandates would fall below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($77 million and $154 million, respectively, in 2016, adjusted annually for inflation).