Press Releases

Rep Frankel Bill to Save Florida Millions Passes House

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Washington, May 3, 2017 | comments
Washington, DC – Today, a proposal (H.R. 1678) by Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21) that would save Florida taxpayers nearly $17 million and protect local budgets successfully passed the House of Representatives.

Over a decade ago, Florida was hit by five powerful hurricanes – Charley, France, Jeanne, Wilma and Katrina – that tore through the state, leaving families stranded, property damaged, and local budgets depleted. To assist, FEMA provided money to local governments through the Public Assistance program for approved activities like debris clean-up and repairs to damaged public facilities and property.

Now, FEMA is requiring some South Florida cities and counties pay back the federal government due to faulty or missing paperwork. While grantees support responsible FEMA audits, impacted local governments feel burdened when these assessments happen many years after the work is completed. This process affects balancing their budgets.

This bipartisan legislation will make sure that the process is more balanced, giving FEMA adequate time to review its grant payments while allowing for financial security to local governments.

“When hurricanes and natural disasters strike, our communities – and local budgets – are ravaged,” said Frankel. “This provision will provide FEMA with support to review its grant awards while ensuring local governments can confidently plan their budgets.”

“This legislation is vitally important to Palm Beach County and all the Counties and Municipalities throughout Florida who worked responsibly and within the guidelines to provide storm recovery relief for their residents,” said Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick. “It is beyond unfair for FEMA to propose deobligating previously awarded disaster funds for projects that have been certified complete by the State. Congresswoman Frankel has been a champion for us on this issue, and we are grateful for her efforts.”

Frankel worked with Florida Representatives Dan Webster (FL-10-R), Frederica Wilson (FL-24-D), and Brian Mast (FL-18-R) to pass this legislation out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration, where Senator Bill Nelson has introduced a companion bill.

Frankel spoke on the House floor in support of this legislation. View the clip here:

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