Senate Passes the Tribal Amendments to the Stafford Act and the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act >>

January 28th, 2013

SENATE PASSES THE TRIBAL AMENDMENTS TO THE STAFFORD ACT AND THE DISASTER RELIEF APPROPRIATIONS ACT

On Monday evening, the Senate passed H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which includes the tribal amendments to the Stafford Act by a vote of 62-36. Previously, the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 241 to 180. Now, the bill will go to the President to be signed into law.

The tribal amendments to the Stafford Act authorize tribal governments to make direct requests to the President (without having to go through the State) to declare an emergency or a disaster. The amendment corrects the Stafford Act to properly recognize the government-to-government relationship between the federal government and tribal governments for emergency management. After the President signs the bill into law, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin implementation of the tribal provision by consulting with tribes on the procedures to be adopted.

H.R. 152 provides over $50B in disaster relief assistance largely in response to Hurricane Sandy. However, there is $16B in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that is available for grantees for recovery assistance from any declared major disaster from 2011, 2012 and 2013. While it is expected that much of this will still be directed towards response to Hurricane Sandy, it is likely that there will be significant funding to respond to other disasters throughout the country. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will develop the criteria and process by which grantees may apply for funding over the next 6 weeks.

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