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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
12/28/2012--Passed Senate amended. Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to certain federal departments and agencies for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy.
Title I - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Department of Agriculture for: (1) the emergency conservation and forest restoration programs of the Farm Service Agency, (2) the emergency watershed protection program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and (3) the commodity assistance program of the Food and Nutrition Service.
Title II - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to: (1) the Department of Commerce for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; (2) the Department of Justice for the Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Prison System; (3) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and (4) the Legal Service Corporation.
Title III - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Department of Defense (DOD) for: (1) operation and maintenance of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard; (2) procurement of ammunition for the Army; and (3) the Defense Working Capital Funds for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy.
Title IV - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to DOD for the Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers-Civil.
Title V - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to: (1) the General Service Administration (GSA); and (2) the Small Business Administration (SBA) for salaries and expenses, the Office of Inspector General, and the Disaster Loans Program Account.
(Sec. 501) Amends the Small Business Act with respect to obtaining the best available collateral for a disaster loan of not more than $200,000 relating to damage to or destruction of the property of, or economic injury to, a small business concern.
Prohibits the Administrator of Small Business, in obtaining such collateral, from requiring the small business owner to use the owner's primary residence as collateral if the owner has other assets with a value equal to or greater than the loan amount that could be used as collateral for the loan. Declares that nothing in this prohibition may be construed to reduce the amount of collateral required by the Administrator in connection with such a loan or to modify the standards used to evaluate the quality (rather than the type) of such collateral.
Title VI - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for: (1) U.S. Customs and Border Protection; (2) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; (3) the Coast Guard; (4) the U.S. Secret Service; (5) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); (6) the Disaster Assistance Direct Loan Program Account; (7) science and technology for research, development, acquisition, and operations; and (8) the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office.
(Sec. 601) Amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to increase from $20.725 billion to $30.425 billion the total amount of notes and obligations (federal borrowing authority) which may be issued by the FEMA Administrator, with the President's approval, for the National Flood Insurance program.
Designates such increase as an emergency requirement under the the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.
(Sec. 602) Authorizes the FEMA Administrator, in cooperation with representatives of state, tribal, and local governments, to give greater weight to specified special populations factors to measure accurately the acute needs of a population following a disaster in order to expedite a declaration of Individual Assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
(Sec. 603) Requires the FEMA Administrator, in determining compliance with FEMA Public Assistance program codes and standards with respect to major disasters declared on or after August 27, 2011, to consider eligible the costs required to comply with a state's Stream Alteration General Permit process, including any design standards required to be met as a condition of permit issuance.
(Sec. 604) Authorizes the FEMA Administrator, with respect to Hurricane Sandy damages, to recommend to the President without delay an increase in the federal share of the eligible cost of permanent work under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act involving repair, restoration, and replacement of damaged facilities as well as the cost of emergency work involving essential assistance and debris removal.
(Sec. 605) Directs the FEMA Administrator, in administering funds to address any major disaster declared between August 27, 2011, and December 5, 2012, to establish a pilot program for the relocation of state facilities under which the Administrator may waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any FEMA regulation to provide assistance, consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), for the permanent relocation of state facilities, including administrative office buildings, medical facilities, laboratories, and related operating infrastructure, that were significantly damaged as a result of the disaster, are subject to flood risk, and are otherwise eligible for repair, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement. Conditions any such relocation upon: (1) its practicability and cost effectiveness or greater appropriateness than repairing, restoring, reconstructing, or replacing the facility in its pre-disaster location; and (2) its effective mitigation of the flood risk to the facility.
(Sec. 606) Directs the FEMA Administrator to approve the construction of a permanent flood risk reduction levee by a state, local, or tribal government on covered hazard mitigation land if the Administrator and the Chief of Engineers determine, through a process established by them and funded entirely by the state, local, or tribal government seeking to construct the proposed levee, that: (1) construction of the proposed levee would more effectively mitigate against flooding risk than an open floodplain or other flood risk reduction measures; (2) the levee complies with federal, state, and local requirements; and (3) the state, local, or tribal government seeking to construct the levee has provided an adequate maintenance plan meeting specified criteria.
Limits the meaning of "covered hazard mitigation land" to certain land meeting specified acquisition and deed criteria and located in: (1) a West North Central State; and (2) a community that is participating in the National Flood Insurance Program when the construction application is submitted and will continue to participate in it.
(Sec. 607) Requires the FEMA Administrator to cancel the liquidated balances of all remaining uncanceled or partially canceled loans disbursed under the Community Disaster Loan Act of 2005 and the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006, as amended by the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, to the extent that revenues of the local government during the period following a major disaster are insufficient to meet the local government budget, including additional disaster-related expenses of a municipal character. Prescribes requirements for calculation of a community's revenues, especially certain exclusions, inclusions, and other criteria.
(Sec. 608) Directs the DHS Inspector General (DHS-IG) to review: (1) the applications for public assistance provided through the Disaster Relief Fund with a project cost exceeding $10 million; and (2) the resulting decisions issued by FEMA for category A debris removal for DR-1786 (Louisiana Hurricane Gustav, September 1-11, 2008) upon receipt of an applicant's request after filing an appeal with FEMA, without regard to whether the FEMA Administrator has issued a final agency determination on the application for assistance.
Requires the DHS-IG to determine whether FEMA correctly applied its rules and regulations to determine the eligibility of the applicant's claim. Authorizes applicant submission to a certain arbitration process if FEMA is found to have misapplied its rules and regulations in determining claims and costs eligibility. Requires FEMA to take corrective action if the DHS-IG finds that FEMA provided unauthorized funding.
(Sec. 609) Disaster Recovery Act of 2012 - Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act with respect to the federal contribution to the cost of cost-effective hazard mitigation measures which substantially reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by a major disaster.
Requires the President to ensure that adequate resources are devoted to ensuring that applicable environmental reviews under NEPA and historic preservation reviews under the National Historic Preservation Act are completed expeditiously using the shortest existing applicable process. Authorizes the President to use additional expedited procedures for the purpose of providing assistance, such as those under the FEMA Prototype Programmatic Agreement, for: (1) the consideration of multiple structures as a group, and (2) an analysis of the cost-effectiveness and fulfillment of cost-share requirements for proposed hazard mitigation measures.
Authorizes the President to provide up to 25% of the estimated cost of hazard mitigation measures to an eligible state grantee before eligible costs are incurred.
Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to authorize the FEMA Administrator, until regulations are promulgated to establish criteria for approving state applications to delegate authority to administer hazard mitigation assistance, to: (1) waive notice and comment rulemaking if necessary to implement expeditiously the hazard mitigation grant program, and (2) carry out as a pilot program certain alternative procedures.
Authorizes the Administrator to approve projects under such alternative procedures for any new major disaster or emergency as well as for any project relating to a major disaster or emergency declared before enactment of this Act for which construction has not begun by the date of enactment.
Authorizes the Administrator, in coordination with states, tribal, and local governments, and owners or operators of private nonprofit facilities, to adopt alternative procedures to administer assistance for repair, restoration, and replacement of damaged facilities and debris removal. Requires participation in such procedures to be voluntary.
Prescribes requirements for alternative procedures for repair, restoration, and replacement of damaged facilities, including: (1) making grants on the basis of fixed estimates, if the state, tribal, or local government, or owner or operator of the private nonprofit facility (grant recipient) agrees to be responsible for any actual costs exceeding the estimate; (2) allowing grant recipients to elect to receive an in-lieu contribution, without reduction, on the basis of estimates of repairs, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement as well as management expenses; and (3) consolidating grant recipient facilities as a single project based upon the estimates adopted under the procedures.
Prescribes requirements for alternative procedures for debris removal, including: (1) making grants on the basis of fixed estimates to provide financial incentives and disincentives for the timely or cost effective completion if the grant recipient agrees to be responsible to pay for any actual costs exceeding the estimate; (2) using a sliding scale for the federal share for removal of debris and wreckage based on the time it takes to complete such removal; (3) reimbursing base and overtime wages for employees and extra hires of a grant recipient performing or administering such removal; and (4) providing incentives to state, tribal, and local governments to have a FEMA-approved debris management plan and to have pre-qualified one or more debris and wreckage removal contractors before the date of declaration of the major disaster.
Revises requirements for the simplified procedure under which the President may make a contribution to an applicant state or local government or the owner or operator of a private nonprofit facility on the basis of a federal estimate of less than $35,000 for the cost of debris removal and repair, restoration, and replacement of damaged facilities. Directs the President, acting through the FEMA Administrator, to report to specified congressional committees on whether an increase in the $35,000 eligibility threshold is appropriate, which report shall include consideration of cost-effectiveness, speed of recovery, capacity of grantees, past performance, and accountability measures. Requires the President, after submitting that report, to direct the FEMA Administrator to establish immediately an appropriate eligibility threshold, and adjust it annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-UC).
Revises requirements for federal agency assistance essential to meeting immediate threats to life and property resulting from a major disaster to authorize the President, if declaring a major disaster or emergency for an area within the jurisdiction of a state, tribal, or local government, to reimburse the government for costs relating to basic pay and benefits or overtime and hazardous duty compensation for permanent employees of the government conducting emergency protective measures if the work is not typically performed by them and may otherwise be carried out by contract or agreement with private organizations, firms, or individuals.
Requires the President, in order to expedite the recovery process, to establish an expedited and unified interagency review process meeting specified criteria to ensure compliance with federal environmental and historic requirements relating to disaster recovery projects.
Directs the FEMA Administrator, as a pilot project, to establish procedures under which an applicant may request the use of alternative dispute resolution, including binding arbitration by an independent review panel, to resolve disputes relating to eligible assistance of at least $1 million, adjusted annually to reflect changes in the CPI-UC, for which the applicant has a non-federal share.
Authorizes the President to provide financial assistance to meet disaster-related child care expenses to any individual or household in a state who is adversely affected by a major disaster.
Authorizes the President, to the extent it is a cost-effective alternative to other temporary housing options, to: (1) enter into renewable 18-month lease agreements with owners of multifamily rental property located in major disaster areas to house individuals and households eligible for assistance; and (2) make repairs or improvement to properties under such lease agreements, to the extent necessary to serve as safe and adequate temporary housing.
Prescribes a procedure for the Chief Executive of an affected Indian tribal government to request a major disaster or emergency declaration by the President. Grants the President authority to waive or adjust a non-federal contribution (cost share) with respect to disaster assistance.
Directs the Chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to report to specified congressional committees on: (1) the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on local government budgets in states where a major disaster has been declared, (2) the availability of loans from private sources to address such impacts, (3) the availability of federal resources to address the budgetary impacts of Hurricane Sandy upon local governments, (4) the ability of the Community Disaster Loan program to address those budgetary impacts effectively and expeditiously, and (5) potential consequences of federal action or inaction to address those budgetary impacts.
TITLE VII - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Department of the Interior for: (1) the Fish and Wildlife Service, (2) the National Park Service, (3) the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and (4) the Office of the Secretary.
Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for: (1) environmental programs and management, (2) the Hazardous Substance Superfund, and (3) state and tribal assistance grants.
Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to: (1) the Department of Agriculture for the Forest Service, and (2) the Smithsonian Institution.
Title VIII - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to: (1) the Department of Labor for the Employment and Training Administration, (2) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Administration for Children and Families, and (3) the Office of the Secretary.
Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Social Security Administration.
Title IX - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to: (1) DOD for military construction, Army National Guard; and (2) the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the Veterans Health Administration and departmental administration.
Title X - Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for emergency relief for: (1) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), (2) the Federal Highway Administration, (3) the Federal Railroad Administration for grants to Amtrak, and (4) the Federal Transit Administration.
Makes supplemental disaster assistance appropriations to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for community planning and development.
(Sec. 1001) Authorizes the HUD Secretary, for FY2013, upon request by a public housing agency, to make temporary adjustments to the Section 8 housing choice voucher annual renewal funding allocations and administrative fee eligibility determinations for public housing agencies in a major disaster area in order to avoid significant adverse funding impacts that would otherwise result from the disaster.
(Sec. 1002) Directs DOT and HUD to report to the congressional appropriations committees, within 45 days after enactment of this Act, a plan for implementing the provisions in this title, and update it biannually.
(Sec. 1003) Prohibits the use of any of the funds provided in this title to DOT or HUD to make a grant unless the respective Secretary notifies the congressional appropriations committees and posts the notification on the agency public website at least 3 full business days before either Department (or a modal administration of either Department) announces the selection of any project, state, or locality to receive a grant award totaling $500,000 or more.
Title XI - (Sec. 1102) Declares that each amount designated in this Act by the Congress as an emergency requirement under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act) shall be available only if the President subsequently so designates all such amounts and transmits such designations to Congress.
(Sec. 1103) Requires federal agencies submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the congressional appropriations committees by March 31, 2013, internal control plans for funds provided by this Act.
Deems all programs and activities receiving funds under this Act "susceptible to significant improper payments" for purposes of the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002.
Directs agencies, in accordance with OMB guidance, to identify those grants for which the funds provided by this Act should be expended by the grantees within the 24-month period following obligation of funds for the grant. Requires each agency to include in every grant a term: (1) requiring the grantee to return any funds not expended within the 24-month period; and (2) allowing the agency head to issue subsequently a waiver of this requirement based on a determination that exceptional circumstances justify an extension of such period.
(Sec. 1104) Requires federal agencies, in carrying out activities funded by this Act in partnership with states, local communities, and tribes, to inform response, recovery, and rebuilding plans to reduce vulnerabilities from and build long-term resiliency to future extreme weather events, sea level rise, and coastal flooding (future events).
Requires sponsors of projects for repairing, rebuilding, or restoring infrastructure and restoring land to consider, where appropriate, the increased risks and vulnerabilities associated with such future events.
Makes funds under this Act available to develop, in partnership with state, local, and tribal officials, regional projections and assessments of future risks and vulnerabilities to such events that may be used for response, recovery, and rebuilding planning , and to encourage coordination and facilitate long-term community resiliency.
(Sec. 1105) Requires recipients of federal funds dedicated to reconstruction efforts under this Act to ensure that such efforts maximize the utilization of technologies designed to mitigate future power outages, continue delivery of vital services and maintain the flow of power to facilities critical to public health, safety and welfare.
(Sec. 1106) Directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) and DHS to identify any vehicles currently based at their Washington, D.C., headquarters that are used for non-operational purposes and relocate them to replace agency vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
(Sec. 1107) Authorizes the transfer and merger with other appropriations of certain appropriations for Administration of Foreign Affairs under title VIII of division I of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012.
(Sec. 1108) Prohibits the use of any amounts appropriated by or otherwise made available under this Act: (1) to make payments to an individual or entity with a seriously delinquent tax debt during the pendency of the debt, or (2) for any person who is not alive when the amounts are made available (except with respect to funeral costs).