Peters and Portman Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Disaster Response by Repealing Outdated DHS Contracting Requirements to be Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House has passed bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to repeal a section of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 that required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prohibit the use of subcontracts for more than 65% of the cost of certain emergency response and recovery contracts. The section conflicts with a provision of the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act that imposed a government-wide limitation to prevent excessive subcontracting. Peters and Portman’s bill, the Repeal of Obsolete DHS Contracting Requirements Act, reinforces the government-wide standard and provides greater clarity to federal contractors and DHS employees who are responsible for managing our nation’s federal disaster response. The legislation, which passed the Senate in June, now heads to the President to be signed into law.

“Outdated subcontracting requirements have caused confusion for FEMA officials and hindered effective disaster response efforts needed to help communities in Michigan and across the nation recover from worsening severe weather events including floods, hurricanes, and wildfires,” said Senator Peters. “By removing these conflicting requirements, this legislation will bolster our nation’s ability to respond to extreme weather events, and provide clear guidance for federal contractors responsible for helping with disaster relief efforts.”

“I applaud the House for passing this common-sense bipartisan legislation to provide greater clarity to FEMA officials and other contract workers to ensure a faster response time during natural emergencies,” said Senator Portman.