Senate Passes Peters Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Disaster Response by Repealing Outdated DHS Contracting Requirements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. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman 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’ 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.”

As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led several efforts to strengthen our federal disaster preparedness and response. 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 threaten lives and livelihoods in Michigan and across the nation. Peters’ bipartisan legislation to protect Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Reservists from losing their full-time employment when they are called up to assist communities with disaster response has passed the Senate.