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H.R. 708 (ih) To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for reinstatement of certain benefits administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for remarried surviving spouses of veterans upon termination of their remarriage. [Introduced in House]...


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                                                       Calendar No. 551
106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 707


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             March 4, 1999

  Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public 
                                 Works

                              May 16, 2000

       Reported by Mr. Smith of New Hampshire, without amendment

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
     To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
 Assistance Act to authorize a program for predisaster mitigation, to 
   streamline the administration of disaster relief, to control the 
     Federal costs of disaster assistance, and for other purposes.

    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 ``Disaster Mitigation and Cost 
Reduction Act of 1999''.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO ROBERT T. STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF AND EMERGENCY 
              ASSISTANCE ACT.

    Except as otherwise specifically provided, whenever in this Act an 
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section or other provision of law, the reference shall be 
considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Robert T. 
Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 
et seq.).

                 TITLE I--PREDISASTER HAZARD MITIGATION

SEC. 101. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) greater emphasis needs to be placed on identifying and 
        assessing the risks to State and local communities and 
        implementing adequate measures to reduce losses from natural 
        disasters and to ensure that critical facilities and public 
        infrastructure will continue to function after a disaster;
            (2) expenditures for post-disaster assistance are 
        increasing without commensurate reduction in the likelihood of 
        future losses from such natural disasters;
            (3) a high priority in the expenditure of Federal funds 
        under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
        Assistance Act should be to implement predisaster activities at 
        the local level; and
            (4) with a unified effort of economic incentives, awareness 
        and education, technical assistance, and demonstrated Federal 
        support, States and local communities will be able to increase 
        their capabilities to form effective community-based 
        partnerships for mitigation purposes, implement effective 
        natural disaster mitigation measures that reduce the risk of 
        future damage, hardship, and suffering, ensure continued 
        functioning of critical facilities and public infrastructure, 
        leverage additional non-Federal resources into meeting disaster 
        resistance goals, and make commitments to long-term mitigation 
        efforts in new and existing structures.
    (b) Purpose.--It is the purpose of this title to establish a 
predisaster hazard mitigation program that--
            (1) reduces the loss of life and property, human suffering, 
        economic disruption, and disaster assistance costs resulting 
        from natural hazards; and
            (2) provides a source of predisaster hazard mitigation 
        funding that will assist States and local governments in 
        implementing effective mitigation measures that are designed to 
        ensure the continued functioning of critical facilities and 
        public infrastructure after a natural disaster.

SEC. 102. STATE MITIGATION PROGRAM.

    Section 201(c) (42 U.S.C. 5131(c)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (1);
            (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (2) and 
        inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(3) set forth, with the ongoing cooperation of local 
        governments and consistent with section 409, a comprehensive 
        and detailed State program for mitigating against emergencies 
        and major disasters, including provisions for prioritizing 
        mitigation measures.''.

SEC. 103. DISASTER ASSISTANCE PLANS.

    Section 201(d) (42 U.S.C. 5131(d)) is amended to read as follows:
    ``(d) Grants for Disaster Assistance and Hazard Identification.--
The President is authorized to make grants for--
            ``(1) not to exceed 50 percent of the cost of improving, 
        maintaining, and updating State disaster assistance plans 
        including, consistent with section 409, evaluation of natural 
        hazards and development of the programs and actions required to 
        mitigate such hazards; and
            ``(2) the development and application of improved 
        floodplain mapping technologies that can be used by Federal, 
        State, and local governments and that the President determines 
        will likely result in substantial savings over current 
        floodplain mapping methods.''.

SEC. 104. PREDISASTER HAZARD MITIGATION.

    Title II (42 U.S.C. 5131-5132) is amended by adding at the end the 
following:

``SEC. 203. PREDISASTER HAZARD MITIGATION.

    ``(a) General Authority.--The President may establish a program to 
provide financial assistance to States and local governments for the 
purpose of undertaking predisaster hazard mitigation activities that 
are cost effective and substantially reduce the risk of future damage, 
hardship, or suffering from a major disaster.
    ``(b) Purpose of Assistance.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), a 
        State or local government that receives financial assistance 
        under this section shall use the assistance for funding 
        activities that are cost effective and substantially reduce the 
        risk of future damage, hardship, or suffering from a major 
        disaster.
            ``(2) Dissemination.--The State or local government may use 
        not more than 10 percent of financial assistance it receives 
        under this section in a fiscal year for funding activities to 
        disseminate information regarding cost effective mitigation 
        technologies (such as preferred construction practices and 
        materials), including establishing and maintaining centers for 
        protection against natural disasters to carry out such 
        dissemination.
    ``(c) Allocation of Funds.--The amount of financial assistance to 
be made available to a State, including amounts made available to local 
governments of such State, under this section in a fiscal year shall--
            ``(1) not be less than the lesser of $500,000 or 1.0 
        percent of the total funds appropriated to carry out this 
        section for such fiscal year; but
            ``(2) not exceed 15 percent of such total funds.
    ``(d) Criteria.--Subject to the limitations of subsections (c) and 
(e), in determining whether to provide assistance to a State or local 
government under this section and the amount of such assistance, the 
President shall consider the following criteria:
            ``(1) The clear identification of prioritized cost-
        effective mitigation activities that produce meaningful and 
        definable outcomes.
            ``(2) If the State has submitted a mitigation program in 
        cooperation with local governments under section 201(c), the 
        degree to which the activities identified in paragraph (1) are 
        consistent with the State mitigation program.
            ``(3) The extent to which assistance will fund activities 
        that mitigate hazards evaluated under section 409.
            ``(4) The opportunity to fund activities that maximize net 
        benefits to society.
            ``(5) The ability of the State or local government to fund 
        mitigation activities.
            ``(6) The extent to which assistance will fund mitigation 
        activities in small impoverished communities.
            ``(7) The level of interest by the private sector to enter 
        into a partnership to promote mitigation.
            ``(8) Such other criteria as the President establishes in 
        consultation with State and local governments.
    ``(e) State Nominations.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Governor of each State may recommend 
        to the President not less than 5 local governments to receive 
        assistance under this section. The recommendations shall be 
        submitted to the President not later than October 1, 1999, and 
        each October 1st thereafter or such later date in the year as 
        the President may establish. In making such recommendations, 
        the Governors shall consider the criteria identified in 
        subsection (d).
            ``(2) Use.--
                    ``(A) General rule.--In providing assistance to 
                local governments under this section, the President 
                shall select from local governments recommended by the 
                Governors under this subsection.
                    ``(B) Waiver.--Upon request of a local government, 
                the President may waive the limitation in subparagraph 
                (A) if the President determines that extraordinary 
                circumstances justify the waiver and that granting the 
                waiver will further the purpose of this section.
            ``(3) Effect of failure to nominate.--If a Governor of a 
        State fails to submit recommendations under this subsection in 
        a timely manner, the President may select, subject to the 
        criteria in subsection (d), any local governments of the State 
        to receive assistance under this section.
    ``(f) Small Impoverished Communities.--For the purpose of this 
section, the term `small impoverished communities' means communities of 
3,000 or fewer individuals that are economically disadvantaged, as 
determined by the State in which the community is located and based on 
criteria established by the President.
    ``(g) Federal Share.--Financial assistance provided under this 
section may contribute up to 75 percent of the total cost of mitigation 
activities approved by the President; except that the President may 
contribute up to 90 percent of the total cost of mitigation activities 
in small impoverished communities.
    ``(h) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section $25,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 
and $80,000,000 for fiscal year 2000.
    ``(i) Authorization of Section 404 Funds.--Effective October 1, 
2000, in addition to amounts appropriated under subsection (h) from 
only appropriations enacted after October 1, 2000, the President may 
use, to carry out this section, funds that are appropriated to carry 
out section 404 for post-disaster mitigation activities that have not 
been obligated within 30 months of the disaster declaration upon which 
the funding availability is based.
    ``(j) Report on Federal and State Administration.--Not later than 
18 months after the date of the enactment of the Disaster Mitigation 
and Cost Reduction Act of 1999, the President, in consultation with 
State and local governments, shall transmit to Congress a report 
evaluating efforts to implement this section and recommending a process 
for transferring greater authority and responsibility for administering 
the assistance program authorized by this section to capable States.''.

SEC. 105. INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE.

    The President shall establish an interagency task force for the 
purpose of coordinating the implementation of the predisaster hazard 
mitigation program authorized by section 203 of the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The Director of the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency shall chair such task force.

SEC. 106. MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTION FOR MITIGATION COSTS.

    (a) In General.--Section 404(a) (42 U.S.C. 5170c(a)) is amended by 
striking ``15 percent'' and inserting ``20 percent''.
    (b) Applicability.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall 
apply to major disasters declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster 
Relief Act and Emergency Assistance Act after January 1, 1997.

SEC. 107. CONFORMING AMENDMENT.

    The heading for title II is amended to read as follows:

     ``TITLE II--DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND MITIGATION ASSISTANCE''.

               TITLE II--STREAMLINING AND COST REDUCTION

SEC. 201. MANAGEMENT COSTS.

    (a) In General.--Title III (42 U.S.C. 5141-5164) is amended by 
adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 322. MANAGEMENT COSTS.

    ``(a) In General.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law 
(including any administrative rule or guidance), the President shall 
establish by rule management cost rates for grantees and subgrantees. 
Such rates shall be used to determine contributions under this Act for 
management costs.
    ``(b) Management Costs Defined.--Management costs include indirect 
costs, administrative expenses, associated expenses, and any other 
expenses not directly chargeable to a specific project under a major 
disaster, emergency, or emergency preparedness activity or measure. 
Such costs include the necessary costs of requesting, obtaining, and 
administering Federal assistance and costs incurred by a State for 
preparation of damage survey reports, final inspection reports, project 
applications, final audits, and related field inspections by State 
employees, including overtime pay and per diem and travel expenses of 
such employees, but not including pay for regular time of such 
employees.
    ``(c) Review.--The President shall review the management cost rates 
established under subsection (a) not later than 3 years after the date 
of establishment of such rates and periodically thereafter.''.
    (b) Applicability.--Section 322 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster 
Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (as added by subsection (a) of this 
section) shall apply as follows:
            (1) Subsections (a) and (b) of such section 322 shall apply 
        to major disasters declared under such Act on or after the date 
        of the enactment of this Act. Until the date on which the 
        President establishes the management cost rates under such 
        subsection, section 406(f) shall be used for establishing such 
        rates.
            (2) Subsection (c) of such section 322 shall apply to major 
        disasters declared under such Act on or after the date on which 
        the President establishes such rates under subsection (a) of 
        such section 322.

SEC. 202. ASSISTANCE TO REPAIR, RESTORE, RECONSTRUCT, OR REPLACE 
              DAMAGED FACILITIES.

    (a) Contributions.--Section 406(a) (42 U.S.C. 5172(a)) is amended 

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