Peters Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Disaster Response by Repealing Outdated DHS Contracting Requirements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal a section of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 which prohibits the use of subcontracts for more than 65 percent of the cost of certain Department of Homeland Security (DHS) emergency response and recovery contracts. The section conflicts with a provision of the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act that imposed a limitation on subcontracting of 70 percent of contract cost for all federal contracts. Peters’ bill, the Repeal of Obsolete DHS Contracting Requirements Act, would provide greater clarity to federal contractors and DHS employees who are responsible for managing our nation’s federal disaster response and ensure subcontracting requirements are consistent across the government. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined Peters to introduce the legislation.

“Providing FEMA officials and contractors with different subcontracting requirements than other federal agencies not only causes confusion, it also hampers our nation’s disaster response efforts at a time when extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe,” said Senator Peters. This bipartisan bill will strengthen our nation’s federal disaster response and provide clear guidance to federal officials and contractors responsible for helping Americans recover from natural disasters.”

As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led several efforts to strengthen our federal disaster preparedness in response to increasingly severe weather events. Peters secured $500 million in funding as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill for a program he created to help states establish revolving loan programs for local governments to carry out mitigation projects that reduce the risk of shoreline erosion, extreme flooding, and other natural disasters. Peters also convened a hearing with disaster preparedness and response experts to hear how worsening natural disasters, including flooding, severe storms, and wildfires, continue to harm lives and livelihoods in Michigan and across the nation. Peters also released a report in 2019 highlighting needed action to protect the environment and relieve taxpayers of the financial burden posed by the growing effects of climate change in Michigan and across the country.