Senator Highlights Need for Increased Disaster Mitigation Funding
WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan participated in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brock Long. Senator Hassan met with Mr. Long yesterday and discussed the needs of New Hampshire communities in preparing for and responding to natural disasters.
During the hearing, Senator Hassan highlighted the need for both the federal government to re-think how it provides funding to mitigate against disasters, and the need for increased funding for pre-disaster mitigation, noting that the Trump Administration has cut the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program in half in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Mr. Long agreed with Senator Hassan on the importance of pre-disaster mitigation, saying “I believe that mitigation is the foundation of emergency management, or let’s just say the cornerstone of emergency management. If we ultimately want to reduce costs in the future for disasters, we have to do more mitigation.”
Mr. Long added that “If confirmed, I would like to work with the committee to evaluate all of the mitigation funding, not just pre-disaster mitigation, but how do we possibly budgetize all of it up front to do more work to reduce disaster costs, rather than basically having to get hit to be accessing the mitigation funding that’s there.”
Senator Hassan also questioned the nominee about reportedly low morale at the agency, noting it was ranked 284th out of 305 federal agencies in the Partnership for Public Service’s annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” survey. Mr. Long said he would focus on improving the staff’s work experience by seeking feedback directly from staff “to understand how we can open up lines of communication from all parts of the agency to make sure that, if confirmed, my team would be able to understand how to improve the agency from all parts of it.”