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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York


Donovan Collects Recommendations From Former FEMA Administrators

February 28, 2017
Press Release
Donovan chairs hearing focused on gathering insight to improve FEMA capabilities

Washington, DC—February 28, 2017....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, today hosted a hearing entitled, The Future of FEMA: Recommendations of Former Administrators, on Capitol Hill. The hearing focused on gathering insight from former FEMA leaders to strengthen agency capabilities and make the U.S. safer and stronger.

Congressman Donovan said, “The future success of FEMA is dependent on ensuring we put in place policies which improve our nation’s ability to prepare for, and respond to, disasters. Today, we had the opportunity to hear from previous FEMA leaders with firsthand understanding of the successes and failures of agency capabilities, and how to improve mechanisms and management of federal response. It’s critical that we capitalize on this insight and improve our preparedness and response systems.”

Craig Fugate, former FEMA Administrator from May 2009 – January 2017, described the importance of ensuring that emergency management policies remain non-partisan. He highlighted the need for FEMA to engage with Congress directly, especially in regards to legislation that would affect agency disaster response capabilities. Additionally, he stated the need for improved building codes and federal funding. His testimony concluded saying: “The next FEMA leadership team must continue leaning forward, pushing the Agency to improve outcomes for disaster survivors, planning and training for the unimaginable, and enhancing the capabilities of the whole community that is essential to successfully accomplishing the emergency management mission.” Fugate led FEMA recovery during Hurricane Sandy.

Robert David Paulison, former FEMA Administrator from September 2005 – 2009, discussed the importance of enhancing pre-disaster mitigation grant funding to better fortify infrastructure against disasters, which would save lives and reduce property damage. Paulison highlighted how each $1 invested into pre-disaster prevention saves $4 or more on post-disaster recovery. His testimony went on to state the importance of reforming building code policies to focus on structure resiliency. He highlighted statistics on Hurricane Katrina, which stated “model codes could have reduced wind damage from Hurricane Katrina by 80%, saving countless lives, as well as 8 billion dollars.” Paulison – who led FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – enacted major reforms during his time as Administrator, which focused on improving the agency’s ability to protect lives, prevent suffering, reduce property loss and respond more effectively.

Today’s hearing was the second event in a two part series focused on providing the next FEMA Administrator with recommendations to streamline and improve agency effectiveness. The first hearing – which took place on February 14th – provided testimony from emergency management experts. Donovan is committed to turning testimony from the hearings into actionable legislation that improves disaster recovery and resiliency. Last year, Donovan introduced and passed the Flood Insurance Mitigation and Policyholder Protection Act, legislation that reforms the disaster recovery process by streamlining the claims appeals process and eliminating the opportunity for damage inspectors to fraudulently alter their reports after a disaster.

Testimonies from each witness, as well as a full recording of the hearing, are available at