Cochran wants White House to support federal disaster law changes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is asking Obama administration officials to support changing federal disaster laws that draw out recovery work following major disasters.

Cochran serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that conducted a hearing on Hurricane Sandy response and recovery issues. The hearing occurred as congressional appropriations panels await the administration’s request for supplemental funding to support Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in the Northeast.

“The consequences of storms like Katrina and Sandy are overwhelming for the survivors,” Cochran said. “These things sometimes are not ended very quickly. Hurricane Katrina still hangs over us.  I think that with Hurricane Sandy, there are opportunities to reexamine how the federal government addresses disaster recovery and to address adequate supplemental funding.”

Cochran pointed to the Disaster Recovery Act (S.1630), which he cosponsored with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), to use lessons from Katrina recovery work to improve federal disaster response and recovery activities. He credited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for working to assist disaster areas, but questioned some of the legal limitations that result in inefficiency.

Cochran noted that FEMA today continues to try to resolve more than 2,700 FEMA Public Assistance cases related to Katrina recovery efforts in Mississippi and thousands more in Louisiana.

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