Following a major disaster declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with state and local partners to generate a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) quantifying the potential magnitude of damages caused by the event. That assessment informs subsequent requests for federal assistance.
H.R. 3709 would require FEMA to convene an advisory panel consisting of federal, state, and local officials to make recommendations on training, the use of a technological platform to integrate data, and other ways to improve the PDA process. Under the bill, FEMA would need to issue regulations to implement any activities that the panel recommends. Finally, the bill would require the agency to report to the Congress on several issues, including the PDA process and the panel’s recommendations.
The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget function 450 (community and regional development).
CBO assumes that the bill will be enacted by the end of calendar year 2021 and that FEMA would begin implementing the recommendations from the panel in fiscal year 2023. In total, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $22 million over the 2022-2026 period; that spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.