Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

The Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) Passes the House by 398 to 23 – Senate Vote Expected Soon

It appears that we are on the brink of the greatest overhaul in disaster recovery since Hurricane Sandy, perhaps even since Hurricane Katrina.

On the heels of Hurricane Florence, late Wednesday, the 2018 Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA)[1] passed the House by a vote of 398 to 23.

Twice before, the DRRA passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Not this time, it seems.  Interest groups such as the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) expect the Senate to vote in the coming days. For more on the prior legislative movements of the DRRA, check out our updates from last December, February, and June.

Reforms in the DRRA are staggering, most we strongly support here at Disaster Discourse.  It includes more money for pre-disaster hazard mitigation work, post-disaster funding to rebuild infrastructure based on stronger building codes, and simpler administrative procedures for FEMA programs.   First introduced in November 2017, this bill has grown immensely.  It now stands to cause seismic change in how the federal government supports disaster preparedness, response, and recovery – towards a more resilient future.  And many of its provisions take effect retroactively for disasters after August 1, 2017 to account for how it might help recoveries from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

As we confront the growing risk of natural disasters, from wildfires to floods, the DRRA is a bold step forward.  We hope it passes the Senate and is signed into law promptly.

Keep tabs on Disaster Discourse.  If the DRRA is passed, we plan to publish a detailed reaction here.  


[1] The DRRA is tacked onto a separate bill on sports medicine, H.R. 302.  It is Division D of that bill, Sections 1201-1246.

Ari Renoni is a Deputy Director of Recovery Programs with Hagerty Consulting based in NYC.  He serves as the Deputy Policy Team Lead supporting clients in the NYC Metro Area. Prior to Hagerty, Ari worked for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Ministry of Education in Namibia, and for the Center for Policy Research at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, where he also graduated with two graduate degrees: Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in International Affair