Palazzo pushes FEMA reform, solicits votes for Sandy relief - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Palazzo pushes FEMA reform, solicits votes for Sandy relief

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WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX) -

Just over a week after drawing nationwide criticism for his vote to deny additional funding for the National Flood Insurance Program, Mississippi's 4th District Congressman Steven Palazzo is asking his fellow House members to vote 'yes' on the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (HR 152).

In a letter to House members Monday, Palazzo explained that his controversial vote was never meant to deny any aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but to spark a national discussion on how the United State responds to and pays for disaster relief in the future.

In that spirit, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill Monday (HR 219) aimed at streamlining recovery efforts for Sandy victims. Among several proposals in the bill were measures to speed up environmental reviews when dealing with hazard mitigation or rebuilding damaged infrastructure.

Another measure would make it easier for local governments to repair facilities by issuing grants based on damage estimates, rather than reimbursing them for repairs.

The bill also has a provision where FEMA could make limited repairs to a home in instances where making repairs is less expensive that putting the resident up in a FEMA trailer.

Congressman Palazzo also added a clause in the bill that would force the director of FEMA to go before Congress in the next six months to present a plan to reduce costs and increase efficiency when it comes to disaster response.

To view the bill (HR 219) in its entirety, visit: http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20130114/BILLS-112hr__-Sandy-SUS.pdf

As for the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which House members could vote on as early as Tuesday, Palazzo wrote, "I plan to support this week's bill to provide assistance to those who need aid in Sandy-stricken areas, and I hope you will do the same. I believe we as Americans will work to do what is responsible by reforming our broken disaster relief system, but we will also always do what is necessary to provide help to those in need."

To view the full text of Congressman Palazzo's letter, visit: https://palazzo.house.gov/sites/palazzo.house.gov/files/Sandy%20Support%20Letter.pdf

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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