It’s hard to find bipartisan agreement on anything in Washington these days. But the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA) sailed through the Senate and was signed by President Trump two days later, on October 5, 2018. At the time the bill was signed, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said, “We’ll never be able to eliminate all risks, but this enables us to take action now so that individuals and communities will be better positioned to recover more quickly when disasters do occur.”
FEMA had put forward the ideas contained in the new law in its draft National Mitigation Investment Strategy released earlier in 2018. According to the FEMA draft, the final investment strategy was to be grounded in three fundamental principles:
- Catalyze private and nonprofit sector mitigation investments and innovation;
- Improve collaboration between the federal government and state, local, tribal and territorial governments, respecting local expertise in mitigation investing; and
- Make informed decisions based on data including lifetime costs and risks.
The investment strategy’s overarching goal, according to FEMA, would be to improve the coordination and effectiveness of “mitigation investments,” defined as risk management actions taken to avoid, reduce, or transfer risks from natural hazards, including severe weather. The final DRRA legislation closely adhered to this plan.
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