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                                                      Calendar No. 159
116th Congress     }                                     {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                     {      116-60
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                      TO AMEND SECTION 327 OF THE

                   ROBERT T. STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF

                    AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE ACT TO

                   CLARIFY THAT NATIONAL URBAN SEARCH

                    AND RESCUE RESPONSE SYSTEM TASK

                  FORCES MAY INCLUDE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 1521







[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]










                 July 22, 2019.--Ordered to be printed  
                 
                 
                                   ______
		 
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
		 
89-010                    WASHINGTON : 2019                 
                
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin, Chairman
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             MAGGIE HASSAN, New Hampshire
MITT ROMNEY, Utah                    KAMALA D. HARRIS, California
RICK SCOTT, Florida                  KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             JACKY ROSEN, Nevada
JOSH HAWLEY, Missouri

                Gabrielle D'Adamo Singer, Staff Director
                  Joseph C. Folio, III, Chief Counsel
             Barrett F. Percival, Professional Staff Member
               David M. Weinberg, Minority Staff Director
               Zachary I. Schram, Minority Chief Counsel
   Christopher J. Mulkins, Minority Senior Professional Staff Member
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk






























                                                      Calendar No. 159
116th Congress     }                                     {      Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                     {      116-60

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

 
  AMENDING SECTION 327 OF THE ROBERT T. STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF AND 
  EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE ACT TO CLARIFY THAT NATIONAL URBAN SEARCH AND 
    RESCUE RESPONSE SYSTEM TASK FORCES MAY INCLUDE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

                                _______
                                

                 July 22, 2019.--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. 1521]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1521) to amend 
section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that National Urban Search 
and Rescue Response System task forces may include Federal 
employees, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

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

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of S. 1521 is to clarify that National Urban 
Search and Rescue Response System task forces may include 
Federal employees.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    S. 1521 is a technical correction that amends section 327 
of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
Assistance Act (the Stafford Act).\1\ In 1989 the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the National 
Urban Search & Rescue Response System, which is a framework for 
organizing and integrating Federal disaster response task 
forces.\2\ The task force system consists of 28 multi-
disciplined teams, known as Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) task 
forces made up of Federal, state and local partners.\3\ These 
task forces can be deployed or pre-positioned by FEMA in 
response to a variety of man-made and natural disasters.\4\ The 
US&R task forces offer an organized system of personnel and 
resources to locate, extricate, and provide immediate medical 
treatment to victims trapped in collapsed structures along with 
conducting other life-saving operations.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 
Pub. L. 93-288, Sec. 327, 88 Stat. 143 (1974).
    \2\Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, Fact Sheet (2015), https://
www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1440617086863-
f6489d2de59dddeba8bebc9b4d419009/USAR_July_2015.pdf.
    \3\Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, Fact Sheet (2015), https://
www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1440617086863-
f6489d2de59dddeba8bebc9b4d419009/USAR_July_2015.pdf.
    \4\Id.
    \5\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Following the enactment of the National Urban Search and 
Rescue Response System Act in 2016, which amended the Stafford 
Act by codifying the operational requirements of the system, 
FEMA interpreted provisions within the legislation as expressly 
prohibiting Federal employees from participating on the task 
forces.\6\ In section 327(a)(8) of the Act, the definition of 
``System Member'' was changed to ``an individual who is not a 
full-time employee of the Federal Government and who serves on 
a task force or on a System management or other technical 
team.''\7\ This change affected approximately 50 full-time 
Federal employees who were previously active members, and as a 
result, some task forces could potentially be determined to be 
non-mission capable because they would be unable to fill key 
positions.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act, 2016, Pub. 
L. 114-326; Kevin Durby, Rick Scott, Josh Hawley Team Up on FEMA Policy 
Reform, Sunshine State News (May 18, 2019, 8:45 AM), http://
www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/rick-scott-josh-hawley-team-fema-
policy-reform.
    \7\National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act, 2016, Pub. 
L. 114-326.
    \8\Email from Office of External Affairs, Congressional Affairs 
Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency, to S. Comm. on Homeland 
Sec. and Governmental Affairs (May 9, 2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Participation by Federal employees on US&R task forces will 
better position FEMA to mobilize and deploy necessary resources 
to disaster relief efforts. To clarify congressional intent, 
this bill explicitly states that the National Urban Search and 
Rescue Response System task forces may include Federal 
employees.

                        III. Legislative History

    Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced S. 1521 on May 16, 
2019, with Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rick Scott (R-FL), and 
Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on May 
16, 2019.
    The Committee considered S. 1521 at a business meeting on 
June 19, 2019. S. 1521 was reported favorably en bloc by voice 
vote. Senators Johnson, Portman, Paul, Lankford, Romney, Scott, 
Enzi, Hawley, Peters, Carper, Hassan, Sinema, and Rosen were 
present for the vote.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Federal employees and National Urban Search and Rescue 
        Response System task forces

    This section clarifies that Federal employees are not to be 
excluded from National Urban Search and Rescue Response System 
task forces. It further clarifies that if a Federal employee is 
detailed to a task force, the Federal employee's sponsoring 
agency is required to enter into an agreement with the 
employing Federal agency.

                   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

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, July 8, 2019.
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. 1521, a bill to 
amend section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that National Urban Search 
and Rescue Response System task forces may include Federal 
employees.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    S. 1521 would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief 
and Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that federal employees 
may serve on task forces under the National Urban Search and 
Rescue Response System. That system consists of about 5,700 
personnel--mostly state and local government employees--who 
serve on 28 task forces across the country and which are 
coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 
There are currently 60 federal employees serving on task 
forces.
    Using information from FEMA, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would increase the number of federal 
employees serving on task forces and also would enhance the 
retention of those employees. Under current law, FEMA 
reimburses state and local governments, as well as federal 
employees serving on task forces, for the costs of activating 
members for federal service. Because the bill would not 
increase the total number of personnel serving on task forces 
who are compensated by the federal government--only the mix of 
federal and nonfederal employees--CBO estimates that 
implementing the legislation would not increase federal 
spending on task forces. Federal agencies could incur costs to 
cover the regular activities of their employees while they are 
deployed on task forces, but CBO estimates that those costs 
would not be significant.
    On March 12, 2019, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
639, a bill to amend section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that 
National Urban Search and Rescue Response System task forces 
may include Federal employees, as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on February 27, 
2019. The two bills are similar and CBO's estimates of their 
costs are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. The 
estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 1521 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


TITLE 42--THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 68--DISASTER RELIEF

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subchapter III--Major Disaster and Emergency Assistance Administration

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 5165F. NATIONAL URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE RESPONSE SYSTEM

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (a)

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (p) Federal Employees.--Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to mean that a task force may not include Federal 
employees. In the case of a Federal employee detailed to task 
force, the sponsoring agency shall enter into an agreement with 
the relevant employing Federal agency.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]