Resilient Assistance for Mitigation for Environmentally Resilient Infrastructure and Construction By Americans Act

Floor Speech

Date: April 5, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to cosponsor H.R. 5689, the Resilient AMERICA Act, along with Chairman DeFazio and Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Chair Titus and Ranking Member Webster. This bill is going to strengthen our support for communities and individuals in mitigating disasters.

We know that for every dollar invested upfront in mitigation, $4 to $11 are saved in damages from a disaster. Given that, one way we lower costs of future disasters is by investing upfront in mitigation.

This bill builds on the bipartisan work that we did on mitigation in the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018. It ensures mitigation funds are spent and targeted in ways to support efforts by communities and homeowners to save lives and reduce damage.

In my district, my constituents regularly experience flooding that not only causes damage to homes and businesses but disrupts lives and displaces people. Sadly, the time it takes to recover and receive assistance is far too long.

I am glad to see more being done to make commonsense investments on the front end through mitigation projects, which will save taxpayers money. More importantly, it can help save lives.

This bill also has the support of several groups, including the National Association of Home Builders.

Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a letter of support from the National Association of Home Builders. National Association of Home Builders, Government Affairs, Washington, DC, April 5, 2022. Hon. Peter DeFazio, Chairman, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, DC. Hon. Sam Graves, Ranking Member, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves: On behalf of the more than 140,000 members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), I write in support of H.R. 5689, the Resilient AMERICA Act. The resilience and pre-disaster mitigation initiatives contained in this bipartisan bill would provide a comprehensive and preemptive approach to reducing the risks of natural disasters while preserving important flexibilities at the state and local levels.

NAHB supports a comprehensive approach to addressing natural disasters through initiatives focused on implementing cost-effective solutions that encourage greater resiliency in the nation's housing stock--while preserving housing affordability. The Resilient AMERICA Act would invest in common-sense mitigation activities, with an emphasis on residential retrofits for improving resiliency in older homes. Expanding mitigation opportunities and creating incentives to facilitate upgrades and improvements to older homes and structures would help to reduce risks and minimize losses from future catastrophes.

NAHB also supports the incorporation of language that respects state and local jurisdictions' control over building code adoption by providing flexibility to adopt one of the two latest published codes. In addition, the bill includes a provision that would provide consistency in how FEMA evaluates which code a jurisdiction has adopted. This language will provide the flexibility needed for communities to take positive steps to withstand and recover from extreme events.

We urge the passage of H.R. 5689 to make American communities more resilient while also protecting important building code flexibilities at the state and local levels.

Thank you for considering our views. Sincerely, James W. Tobin III, Executive Vice President & Chief Lobbyist.

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Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman DeFazio for working with us on this bill as we have all seen the effects of disaster in our districts and across America.

Mr. Speaker, I urge support of this bipartisan legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GRAVES of Missouri.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, the Resilient AMERICA Act does support the communities by investing in premitigation efforts, and these efforts are going to save lives. It is going to save taxpayer dollars by lowering costs of future disasters. It is going to do so many things.

Mr. Speaker, I urge support of this important piece of legislation. I again want to thank the chairman for working with us on this. I yield back the balance of my time.

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