WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressmen Brian Babin (TX-36) and John Garamendi (CA-03) released the following statement on the introduction of H.R. 3459, the Regional Impact of Disasters and Emergencies Relief Act (RIDER Act), to expand eligibility for federal assistance after major disasters.
“Too often after a natural disaster, we have seen impacted communities excluded from financial help because of technicalities or subjective standards,”said Babin. “Last year alone, several communities in Southeast Texas were hit by major disasters but were excluded from any public or individual assistance even though their property line was less than 100 yards from where the federally declared disaster was issued. My goal with the RIDER Act is to ensure that whenever the government steps in after a major disaster declaration, our businesses and homes are not left out, but instead receive the relief and resources necessary to fully recover. This legislation is a much-needed solution to a problem we encounter year after year. Streamlining commonsense reforms aimed at easing the excessive bureaucratic regulations that follow natural disasters is critical, which is why I am proud to be pushing this important bill forward.”
“Wildfires, floods, and earthquakes do not recognize county lines,” said Garamendi. “When disaster strikes all disaster-impacted communities, homeowners, and businesses should be eligible to apply for federal assistance, regardless of where the county line for the FEMA major disaster declaration falls. That’s exactly what Congressman Babin’s and my bill allows, and I look forward to working with him to get this passed into law.”
Specifically, whenever a major disaster is officially declared for a particular area, H.R. 3459 will expand eligibility for federal assistance to anyone who suffers damage from that disaster, regardless of county lines or financial thresholds. Additionally, when counties experience repetitive storm damage during the year, this bill enables FEMA to declare a major disaster based upon cumulative damage.