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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
1/14/2013--Passed House without amendment. Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to authorize the President, acting through the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to approve public assistance projects for major disasters or emergencies under alternative procedures with the goal of: (1) reducing the costs to the federal government of providing such assistance; (2) increasing flexibility in the administration of assistance; (3) expediting the provision of assistance to a state, tribal or local government, or owner or operator of a private nonprofit facility; and (4) providing financial incentives and disincentives for the timely and cost-effective completion of projects.
Requires such alternative procedures, with respect to grants for facility repair, restoration, or replacement, to allow: (1) such grants to be made on the basis of fixed estimates if the state, tribal, or local government or the owner or operator of the private nonprofit facility agrees to be responsible for any actual costs that exceed the estimate; (2) a grantee to elect to receive an in-lieu contribution, without reduction, on the basis of estimates of the cost to repair, restore, reconstruct, or replace a facility and management expenses; (3) consolidating state, local, or tribal facilities as a single project; and (4) the Administrator to permit a grantee, when completed project costs are less than the estimated costs, to use excess funds for activities that reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, or suffering from a major disaster and for other activities to improve future public assistance operations or planning.
Requires such alternative procedures, with respect to grants for debris removal, to allow: (1) such grants to be made on the basis of fixed estimates to provide financial incentives and disincentives for the timely or cost-effective completion if the grantee agrees to be responsible for any actual costs that exceed the estimate; (2) use of a sliding scale for determining the federal share for removal of debris and wreckage based on the time it takes to complete; (3) use of program income from recycled debris without offset to the grant amount; (4) reimbursement of wages for grantee employees and extra hires performing or administering debris and wreckage removal; (5) incentives to a state, local, or tribal government to have a debris management plan approved by the Administrator and to have pre-qualified contractors before the date of declaration of the major disaster; and (6) the Administrator to permit a grantee, when actual project costs are less than estimated costs, to use the excess funds for debris management planning, acquisition of debris management equipment for current or future use, and other activities to improve future debris removal operations.
(Sec. 3) Authorizes the President to enter into lease agreements for, and make repairs or improvements to, multifamily rental property located in areas covered by a major disaster declaration when the President determines it would be a cost-effective alternative to other temporary housing options.
(Sec. 4) Directs the President, for purposes of hazard mitigation assistance, to ensure that: (1) environmental reviews and historic preservation reviews are completed on an expeditious basis; and (2) the shortest existing applicable process under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the National Historic Preservation Act is utilized. Authorizes the President to provide not more than 25% of the amount of the estimated cost of hazard mitigation measures to a state grantee before eligible costs are incurred.
(Sec. 5) Directs the Administrator to establish procedures under which an applicant, through December 31, 2015, may request the use of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration by an independent review panel to resolve disputes relating to eligible assistance.
(Sec. 6) Directs the President to establish a unified interagency review process to ensure compliance with environmental and historic requirements relating to disaster recovery projects in order to expedite the recovery process.
(Sec. 7) Requires the President: (1) within one year, to complete an analysis to determine whether an increase in the threshold for eligibility for the provision of federal disaster or emergency assistance on the basis of the amount of the federal estimate of assistance necessary is appropriate; and (2) if so, to establish such threshold, adjust it annually for inflation, and review it every three years.
(Sec. 8) Authorizes the President: (1) to provide child care assistance to an individual or household adversely affected by a major disaster; and (2) after declaring a major disaster or emergency for an area within the jurisdiction of a state, tribal, or local government, to reimburse such government for costs relating to basic pay and benefits and overtime and hazardous duty compensation for permanent employees of such government conducting emergency protective measures.
(Sec. 9) Requires the Administrator to review, update, and revise factors relating to trauma to measure the severity, magnitude, and impact of a disaster.
(Sec. 10) Authorizes Indian tribal governments to submit requests for major disaster or emergency declarations directly to the President.
(Sec. 11) Directs the Administrator to submit recommendations for the development of a national strategy for reducing future costs, loss of life, and injuries associated with extreme disaster events in vulnerable areas of the United States.