112th Congress Fails to Pass the Tribal Amendments to the Stafford Act >>

January 4th, 2013

112th Congress Fails to Pass the Tribal Amendments to the Stafford Act

Although there was considerable legislative activity involving the tribal amendments to the Stafford Act at the end of the Session, ultimately Congress failed to pass legislation that included the tribal amendments authorizing tribal governments to make direct requests to the President for emergency or disaster assistance.

In September, the House passed H.R. 2903, the FEMA Reauthorization Act, which included the tribal amendments. However, the Senate never considered this bill nor did the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Most recently, the Senate included the tribal amendments in the Disaster Assistance Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 1), better known as the Sandy Supplemental. With less than a week left in the Session, the Sandy Supplemental Bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support 89-8.

In the House, Republicans had considerable concerns with the Senate Supplemental bill, and decided to introduce two new supplemental bills for consideration. These bills did not contain most, if not all, of the authorizing provisions in the Senate bill including the tribal amendments. However, in the last hours of the 112th Congress, Rep. Denham (R-CA) and Rep. Rahall (D-WV) were able to introduce a new bill (H.R. 6728) with these authorizing provisions including the tribal amendments and have it placed on the schedule to be considered. Unfortunately, the House decided to not vote on the Supplemental Bills and adjourned before considering H.R. 6728.

Now, the tribal amendments to the Stafford Act will have to be reconsidered in the 113th Congress. At this point, it is not clear how they will be reconsidered, but the Supplemental Appropriations Bill remains a possible legislative vehicle.

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