BPC Action Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Establish a Universal Application for Disaster Recovery Assistance in Housing, Infrastructure

BPC Action applauds Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and James Lankford (R-OK) for their bipartisan collaboration to introduce S. 4599, the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act which would establish a single application portal for individuals, households, and businesses seeking access to federal disaster recovery assistance.   

This legislation would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take the lead in the development of the portal, in consultation with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration, and other federal agencies that may offer disaster recovery assistance. FEMA would also be responsible for hosting the portal (to be assessed at “DisasterAssistance.gov”).  

The effort is intended to streamline application processes across agencies and expedite the delivery of assistance by sharing that information among the participating agencies. The legislation removes obstacles to sharing that information among agencies by providing workarounds to various provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 and other federal statutes that currently make it difficult to share such information. Concurrently, S. 4599 establishes a mechanism to help ensure that federal agency partners effectively manage such data to limit unauthorized data disclosures. 

The Disaster Assistance Simplification Act is a useful step toward establishing a federal disaster recovery process that is quicker and more responsive to the needs of citizens in their hour of greatest need. BPC Action looks forward to working with Congress to enact this legislation.