BPC Action Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Create a National Disaster Safety Board in Housing, Infrastructure

BPC Action commends the bipartisan collaboration in the House and Senate to reintroduce legislation that would establish a new National Disaster Safety Board. The National Disaster Safety Board Act of 2021, introduced by Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA), Nancy Mace (R-SC), and John Garamendi (D-CA), and the Disaster Learning and Life Saving Act, introduced by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would create an independent board to study the causes of disaster-related fatalities and property damage across the nation. 

Each year millions of Americans’ lives are upended by increasingly catastrophic weather events and natural disasters. In 2021 alone, the U.S. experienced 20 major disasters, resulting in $145 billion in damages and 688 deaths.  From Atlantic hurricanes to Western wildfire seasons to flooding in the Midwest, disasters have been particularly destructive in the last few years, setting records for all the wrong reasons.  

These pieces of legislation, drafted with input from members of BPC’s Task Force on Disaster Response Reform,  would empower policymakers to better understand the underlying causes behind fatalities and property damage resulting from disasters.  A new National Disaster Safety Board would fill a gap that currently exists today in the execution, standardization, dissemination, and implementation of after-action reviews and investigations, insulating important  fact-finding  from political pressure and leading to the development of evidence-based best practices.  

BPC Action looks forward to working with Congress to pass this important bill to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal disaster assistance programs, which will ultimately save lives and reduce costs.