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114th Congress   }                                             { Report 
 1st Session     }               SENATE                        { 114-173
                                                                
_______________________________________________________________________

                                                      


            DIRECTING DOLLARS TO DISASTER RELIEF ACT OF 2015

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 2109

          TO DIRECT THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY
           MANAGEMENT AGENCY TO DEVELOP AN INTEGRATED PLAN TO
            REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS UNDER THE ROBERT T.
 STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE ACT, AND FOR OTHER 
                                PURPOSES




                December 7, 2015.--Ordered to be printed
                               __________                

                 U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE                
                        
                        WASHINGTON : 2015
59-010


        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  JON TESTER, Montana
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
JONI ERNST, Iowa                     GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
BEN SASSE, Nebraska

                    Keith B. Ashdown, Staff Director
                  Christopher R. Hixon, Chief Counsel
       Patrick J. Bailey, Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs
Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Deputy Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs
                Drew C. Baney, Professional Staff Member
              Gabrielle A. Batkin, Minority Staff Director
           John P. Kilvington, Minority Deputy Staff Director
               Mary Beth Schultz, Minority Chief Counsel
     Brian B. Turbyfill, Minority Senior Professional Staff Member
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk
                     
                     
                                                       Calendar No. 313
                                                       
114th Congress }                                             { Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session   }                                             { 114-173

======================================================================



 
            DIRECTING DOLLARS TO DISASTER RELIEF ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

                December 7, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2109]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 2109) to direct the 
Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to 
develop an integrated plan to reduce administrative costs under 
the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
Act, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................3
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................5
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................5
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    S. 2109, the Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act of 
2015, seeks to control and reduce rising administrative costs 
for major disasters by requiring the Administrator of the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop and 
implement a plan to control and reduce its internal 
administrative costs for major disasters. To ensure the plan is 
effective, the bill requires FEMA to review progress toward 
agency established goals, and to report its findings for each 
fiscal year (FY) to Congress.

              II. BACKGROUND AND THE NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    FEMA is the primary provider of Federal assistance in 
response to major disasters. Through funding from the Disaster 
Relief Fund (DRF), FEMA administers major disaster recovery and 
relief funds through grant programs. From FY 2004 through FY 
2013, FEMA administered $95.2 billion for 650 declared major 
disasters.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\U.S. Gov't Accountability Office, GAO-15-65, Federal Emergency 
Management Agency: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Oversight of 
Administrative Costs for Major Disasters 12 (2014), available at http:/
/www.gao.gov/assets/670/667606.pdf (hereinafter, 2014 GAO Report).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Of the $95.2 billion spent on disaster relief between FY 
2004 and FY 2013, approximately $12.7 billion was used to cover 
FEMA's administrative costs that support the delivery of 
disaster assistance.\2\ Recent Government Accountability Office 
(GAO) reports have documented the increase of administrative 
costs for major disaster assistance in the last two decades. 
While the growth in administrative costs is in part due to the 
increased number of disaster declarations within the same time 
period, average administrative cost percentages have risen as 
well. From FY 1989 to FY 2011, the percentage of disaster 
assistance that was spent on administrative costs doubled, 
increasing from 9 percent to 18 percent.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\2014 GAO Report at 8.
    \3\U.S. Gov't Accountability Office, GAO-12-838, Federal Disaster 
Assistance: Improved Criteria Needed to Assess a Jurisdiction's 
Capability to Respond and Recover on Its Own 41 (2012), available at 
http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648162.pdf (hereinafter, 2012 GAO 
Report).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For its part, FEMA has recognized and initiated efforts to 
address the problem of rising administrative costs. In a 
November 2010 memo, FEMA recognized the need to control 
spiraling administrative costs and staffing levels.\4\ The 2010 
internal memo created best practices guidelines for management 
to follow and set broad targets for administrative cost 
percentages.\5\ Prior to the guidelines released in the memo, 
FEMA had provided limited guidance to managers on how to 
control administrative costs.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Federal Emergency Management Agency, Achieving Efficient JFO 
Operations: A Guide for Managing Staffing Levels and Administrative 
Costs 1 (2010) (on file with Committee staff).
    \5\Id. at 2.
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    However, a September 2012 GAO report found that FEMA did 
not strictly adhere to the guidelines of the 2010 memo, 
electing instead to treat them as aspirational for mangers to 
use to achieve efficiency in the field.\7\ While acknowledging 
the complexities that can affect administrative costs for 
disasters, GAO further found that FEMA did not create a way to 
track progress against the established percentage ranges.\8\ 
Without formal goals and ways to track progress towards those 
targets, GAO concluded that measuring success would be 
difficult.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\2012 GAO Report at 46.
    \8\Id. at 47.
    \9\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Accordingly, GAO recommended that FEMA implement goals for 
administrative cost percentages and monitor performance to 
achieve these goals.\10\ In response to GAO's recommendations, 
FEMA released a Strategic Plan in July 2014 that included 
setting a goal of reducing annual administrative costs by five 
percent and using data analytics to track performance against 
this goal.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Id. at 51.
    \11\Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA Strategic Plan: 2014-
2018 34 (2014) available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/
documents/96981.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GAO issued a follow-up report on FEMA's administrative 
costs for major disasters in December 2014.\12\ The review 
determined the percentage of administrative costs had not 
significantly decreased since November 2010;\13\ rather, it 
remained steady above 18 percent.\14\ GAO noted that although 
FEMA was engaging in efforts to reduce administrative costs, 
including its 2014 Strategic Plan goals, the agency: ``does not 
require [its] targets be met;''\15\ ``do[es] not have an 
integrated plan for how they will better control and reduce 
administrative costs for major disasters, and ha[s] not 
identified the office or officials accountable for overseeing 
administrative costs;''\16\ and does not sufficiently track its 
costs.\17\ Finally, GAO surmised that ``had FEMA met its 
targets, administrative costs could have been reduced by 
hundreds of millions of dollars.''\18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\2014 GAO Report. The review was conducted at the request of 
then-Committee Members Senators Tom Coburn and Mark Begich, along with 
Congressman Michael McCaul and Congresswoman Susan Brooks.
    \13\Id. at 22.
    \14\Id. at 14-15.
    \15\Id. at Highlights Page.
    \16\Id. at 22.
    \17\Id. at 23.
    \18\Id. at Highlights Page.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee continues to perform oversight of FEMA's 
disaster assistance programs, and remains concerned about 
rising administrative costs. On October 5, 2015, Committee 
Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Tom Carper sent a 
letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate regarding the 
allocation and expenditures of funds in regard to Hurricane 
Sandy.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\Letter from Hon. Ron Johnson, Chairman, Comm. on Homeland 
Security & Governmental Affairs & Hon. Tom Carper, Ranking Member. 
Comm. on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, to W. Craig Fugate, 
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator (Oct. 5, 2015) (on 
file with Committee Staff).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GAO reports have made clear that more needs to be done to 
control FEMA's administrative costs. Building on those reports, 
this bill would require FEMA to develop and implement a plan 
that includes strategic goals, milestones for reaching those 
goals, a timetable for implementation, and clearly defined 
roles and responsibilities for measuring performance. 
Additionally, FEMA must do a cost-benefit analysis of tracking 
administrative cost data by specific grant programs, and 
clarify requirements for the Public Assistance Grant Program. 
Finally, the bill requires FEMA to provide an initial briefing 
to Congress on the plan as well as any updates on changes, and 
to continually review progress toward meeting its goals, 
including updating Congress of the same each fiscal year.

                        III. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    The Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act of 2015, S. 
2109, was introduced September 30, 2015, by Senator Ron Johnson 
(R-WI). The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered S. 2109 at a business meeting on 
October 7, 2015. During the business meeting, a substitute 
amendment was offered by Senator Johnson. The substitute 
amendment was adopted by voice vote with Senators Johnson, 
Portman, Lankford, Enzi, Ernst, Sasse, Carper, McCaskill, 
Baldwin, Heitkamp, and Booker present.
    The Committee ordered the bill, as amended, reported 
favorably by voice vote en bloc on October 7, 2015. Senators 
present for the vote on the bill were Senators Johnson, 
Portman, Lankford, Enzi, Ernst, Sasse, Carper, McCaskill, 
Baldwin, Heitkamp, and Booker.

        IV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE BILL, AS REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    This section establishes the short title of the bill as the 
``Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act of 2015.''

Section 2. Definitions

    This section defines the terms, ``administrative cost'', 
``Administrator'', ``Agency'', ``direct administrative cost'', 
``hazard mitigation program'', ``individual assistance 
program'', ``major disaster'', ``mission assignment'', and 
``public assistance program'' for the purposes of this bill.

Section 3. Integrated plan for administrative cost reduction

    This section requires the Administrator of FEMA to develop 
and implement a plan to control and reduce administrative costs 
for major disasters. The plan must include: the steps the 
Agency will take to reduce administrative costs; milestones 
necessary to accomplish the reduction of administrative costs; 
goals for the average annual percentage of administrative costs 
of major disasters for each FY; a timetable for implementation; 
and the assignment of clear roles and responsibilities for 
monitoring and measuring performance.
    The Administrator must also compare the costs and benefits 
of tracking the administrative cost data for major disasters 
according to the different programs, and, if feasible, track 
the information. FEMA is also required to clarify guidance and 
minimum documentation requirements for a direct administrative 
cost claimed by a grantee or subgrantee of a public assistance 
grant program. FEMA must brief Congress on the plan being 
developed within 90 days after enactment, and if any changes 
are made to the plan following the briefing, FEMA must notify 
Congress of the changes.

Section 4. Reporting requirement

    FEMA is required to submit a yearly report to Congress on 
the development and implementation of the integrated plan 
required under Section 3. These reports will also be updated 
three and five years later to assess the previous three-year 
and five-year fiscal periods, respectively. Each report must 
contain the total amount spent on administrative costs for the 
FY, and the average annual percentage of administrative costs 
for the FY, an assessment of the effectiveness of the plan 
created in Section 3, and an analysis of whether FEMA is 
achieving its strategic goals. The report also must outline any 
actions FEMA has identified as useful in improving upon and 
reaching its goals. Lastly, the reports must be made available 
to the public no later than 30 days after the date that FEMA 
submits the report to Congress.

                   V. EVALUATION OF REGULATORY IMPACT

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                                 November 23, 2015.
Hon. Ron Johnson,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2109, the Directing 
Dollars to Disaster Relief Act of 2015.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Aurora 
Swanson.
            Sincerely.
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

S. 2109--Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act of 2015

    S. 2109 would require the Federal Emergency Management 
Agency (FEMA) to develop a plan to reduce the costs of 
administering programs that provide grants and technical 
assistance in areas affected by major disasters. Under current 
law, the agency is developing a plan to reduce the costs of 
administering disaster programs that would meet many of the 
requirements in the bill. Under the bill, the agency also would 
be required to issue annual reports evaluating the effect of 
the plan on administrative costs. Based on information from 
FEMA, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would 
have an insignificant effect on the federal budget over the 
2016-2020 period.
    Enacting S. 2109 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. 
Enacting the bill would not increase net direct spending or on-
budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods 
beginning in 2026.
    S. 2109 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Aurora Swanson. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    Because this legislation would not repeal or amend any 
provision of current law, it would make no changes in existing 
law within the meaning of clauses (a) and (b) of paragraph 12 
of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate.