Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster Recovery Act

Floor Speech

Date: April 5, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 5641) to amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to increase the threshold for eligibility for assistance under sections 403, 406, 407, and 502 of such Act, and for other purposes, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 5641

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster Recovery Act'' or the ``SPEED Recovery Act''. SEC. 2. SIMPLIFIED PROCEDURE.

(a) In General.--Section 422 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5189) is amended--

(1) in subsection (a) by striking ``$35,000'' each place it appears and inserting ``$1,000,000''; and

(2) in subsection (b)(3)--

(A) in the heading by inserting ``AND REPORT'' after ``REVIEW''; and

(B) by inserting ``and submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report regarding such review, including any recommendations developed pursuant to such review'' after ``under this section''.

(b) Applicability.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to any amounts appropriated after the date of enactment of this Act.


Mr. DeFAZIO. 5641, as amended.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5641, the SPEED Recovery Act. This bill will expedite the approval process for FEMA's small projects within the public assistance program.

The public assistance process is often slow and impeded by bureaucratic red tape, so FEMA offers a simplified approval procedure for small projects that cost $139,000 or less. When this program was implemented over 40 years ago, it was intended to capture 95 percent of public assistance project worksheets. There has been a little inflation since then.

Today, as we noted earlier, many disasters are more widespread and more expensive. Today only 75 percent of projects are being captured by the $139,000 threshold. This legislation will ensure that, once again, 95 percent of project worksheets are eligible for expedited review by raising the qualifying project threshold to $1 million.

By updating the threshold for what qualifies as a small project, barriers to relief and recovery will be alleviated and so will the time it takes communities to get back on their feet post-disaster, and it will allow the limited staff at FEMA to turn their attention to more difficult, expensive, and problematic programs.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to join with me and support this legislation.


Mr. DeFAZIO. Titus), the chair of the subcommittee.


Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker,


Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker,

This is a needed adjustment in the cap, very long overdue. It will expedite assistance to individuals, but it also will free up FEMA staff for more meaningful chores and work on ongoing and future disasters, mitigation, recovery, et cetera.

It has tremendous merit, and I urge that all of my colleagues support this legislation.

It will pass by voice vote, and then someone on that side will jump up and call for a recorded vote because that is why they think they are supposed to be here.