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House Homeland Security Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the “Future of FEMA”

On July 13, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology, led by Chairman Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) and Ranking Member Troy Carter, held a hearing on the “Future of FEMA” with FEMA Administrator Deanna Criswell to discuss her vision for FEMA and to examine President Biden’s FY 2024 budget request for FEMA.   Risk Rating 2.0 became a recurring topic:

Chairman D’Esposito inquired about the status of a May 1 letter to FEMA from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability – the principal oversight committee of the House – signed by 51 Members of Congress from 15 states.  These letter requests that FEMA provide communications, documents, and information on Risk Rating 2.0 by May 29.  To date, FEMA has not produced any responsive documents, according to Chairman D’Esposito.  He asked when Administrator Criswell anticipates that her staff will provide responsive documents.  Administrator Criswell indicated that she will follow-up with staff upon return to office.  Chairman D’Esposito urged attention to this request.

In his opening remarks, Ranking Member Troy Carter (D-LA) expressed to Administrator Criswell, “I am disappointed that since our last conversation, there have not been any improvements or follow-up from you or your team.”   Ranking Member Carter asked “where FEMA is in reviewing Risk Rating 2.0…what steps are you taking to ensure the methodology is fixed and thoroughly explained to the public?”  She affirmed that she “will continue to commit to you on how we can better communicate” and mentioned FEMA’s affordability framework.  Ranking Member Carter expressed urgency and that FEMA “hasten that we push up the time frame…people’s ability to maintain their homesteads are at risk.”

This hearing follows an April House Committee on Homeland Security budget hearing to review the Biden Administration’s FY 2024 proposal for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  During this hearing, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated, “We are reviewing and need to continue to review the Risk Rating 2.0 given the concerns that have been expressed.”