Federal Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and Funding
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act the Stafford Act authorizes the President to issue major disaster or emergency declarations in response to catastrophes in the United States that overwhelm state and local governments. Such declarations result in the distribution of a wide range of federal aid to individuals and families, certain nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. Congress appropriates money to the Disaster Relief Fund DRF for disaster assistance authorized by the Stafford Act. The Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security DHS administers most, but not all, of the authority the statute vests in the President. Legislation pending in the 111th Congress would amend the statute. Among the proposals, H.R. 3377, the Disaster Response, Recovery, and Mitigation Enhancement Act of 2009, would authorize the President to modernize the integrated public alert system to ensure that warnings are disseminated to the public, provide health benefits to temporary or intermittent federal employees who provide disaster assistance, authorize the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System, and make other changes to the statute. Other pending bills would reauthorize a mortgage and rental assistance program terminated in 2000 H.R. 888S. 763, establish new eligibility criteria H.R. 941, H.R. 1059, H.R. 1494, H.R. 2484, H.R. 4141, and S. 1069, and mandate establishment of a tracking and storage plan for housing units used by disaster survivors H.R. 3437S. 713.
- Government and Political Science
- Civil Defense