Source: United States Senator for Florida Marco Rubio
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Gary Peters (D-MI) applauded the Senate passage of their Federal Advance Contracts Enhancement (FACE) Act. This bipartisan legislation would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure more effective use and management of its advance contracts for goods and services. The bill requires federal preparedness actions to be coordinated with states and localities to prevent gaps in recovery efforts from occurring. A one-pager of the bill is available here. “While Florida’s nearly through another hurricane season, I am proud to see that the Senate has passed our bipartisan FACE Act,” Rubio said. “Congress must implement lessons learned from past disasters to ensure that gaps in recovery efforts are addressed and future federal response is more effective and efficient. I urge my colleagues in the House to consider this legislation quickly and send it to the president.” “This bill not only makes it easier for FEMA to serve areas affected by natural disasters, it’s also another step toward making government more efficient, effective, and accountable to the taxpayer,” Johnson said. “I hope my colleagues in the House will join me in supporting this commonsense, bipartisan legislation.” “Planning ahead for natural disasters can help streamline recovery efforts and save taxpayers in Michigan and across the country millions of dollars in the long run,” Peters said. “As a co-chair of 2019 National Preparedness Month, I’m proud to support the commonsense reforms in this bill that will help ensure communities are prepared when disaster strikes and can quickly access the resources they need for a full and swift recovery.” Background: The FACE Act will require FEMA to ensure more effective use and management of its advance contracts process by incorporating the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recommendations from its report titled,“2017 Disaster Contracting: Actions Needed to Better Ensure More Effective Use and Management of Advance Contracts.” These recommendations will ensure that federal preparedness actions are coordinated to prevent gaps in recovery efforts from occurring. The bill also requires FEMA to regularly update the appropriate committees of Congress on the progress of the agency’s implementation of these recommendations. Following Hurricane Katrina, Congress required FEMA to establish advance contracts for goods and services to enable the federal government to quickly mobilize resources to affected areas in the aftermath of a disaster. The 2017 disaster season was historically destructive, and FEMA was forced to rely heavily on advance contracts in its response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the 2017 California wildfires. GAO was asked to review the federal government’s response to the 2017 hurricanes and California wildfires and assess a number of issues. In its report, GAO found a number of issues with FEMA’s handling of advance contracts and made nine recommendations. FEMA concurred with all nine of GAO’s recommendations.