July 26, 2021

Wyden Co-sponsors Bill to Reform Disaster Recovery, Speed Up Aid to Families

Bipartisan Reforming Disaster Recovery Act Would Improve Long-Term Housing and Infrastructure Recovery For Communities Hit by Wildfires, Other Disasters

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today he is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation that would help communities in Oregon and nationwide plan for and recover faster from wildfires and other major disasters.

“Oregonians struggling to put their lives back together after a wildfire or other disaster deserve the smoothest possible path for the federal response that’s needed to help them with a recovery,” Wyden said. “The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act would iron out the bureaucratic obstacles that have unnecessarily slowed communities’ ability to rebuild low-income housing and take other steps needed so urgently after disaster strikes.”

The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act would address long-standing recommendations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD)  Office of the Inspector General and Government Accountability Office to establish a permanent and predictable funding process. The bill accelerates assistance to disaster-affected communities by:

  • Creating a disaster recovery fund to allow HUD to predictably assist communities without waiting for Congress to act on each event;
  • Authorizing HUD to issue regulations to codify program requirements and reduce unnecessary red tape, delays, and unpredictability that stems from the current Federal Register notice process;
  • Supporting resilience as a part of – rather than separate from – disaster recovery;
  • Authorizing “quick release” funds to support grantee capacity right after an event; and
  • Reducing unnecessary administrative burdens and interagency requirement conflicts.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.).

The full text of the bill is here.