Senate Passes Peters and Portman Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Disaster Response by Repealing Outdated DHS Contracting Requirements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate 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 which 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.

“This commonsense bill removes conflicting subcontracting requirements that caused confusion for FEMA officials and contractors, and weakened disaster response efforts for communities recovering from floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and extreme storms,” said Senator Peters. “Now that it has passed the Senate, I urge my colleagues in the House to quickly pass this bipartisan bill so that federal official and contractors receive consistent guidance on subcontracting requirements when responding to worsening natural disasters.”

“I applaud the Senate 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.