ICYMI: Padilla: Unacceptable that Caldor Fire Survivors Were Denied Federal Assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), renewed calls to pass the FIRE Act after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Caldor Fire survivors’ request for federal individual assistance. Padilla’s bill would update the Stafford Act that governs FEMA—which was written when FEMA primarily focused on hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods—to ensure that FEMA’s disaster preparedness and response efforts fully address the unique nature of wildfires and their impacts on communities.

Los Angeles Times: These wildfire survivors say FEMA did little to help those who lost homes

Key Excerpts:

  • Although FEMA has made funds available to reimburse the state and local governments for costs related to the Caldor fire, the agency did not approve a request from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide for individual assistance, which would go directly to uninsured or underinsured residents to help with temporary housing and rebuilding costs.
  • Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called on the federal government to reconsider its decision to deny individual aid, with Democratic Sens. Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein submitting a letter supporting the state’s appeal. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) also sent a series of letters to Biden calling for a reversal.
  • “It’s unacceptable that Caldor Fire survivors were denied federal assistance as they rebuild their homes and lives,” Padilla said in a statement.
  • Padilla has introduced legislation to amend the Stafford Act, which a statement from his office described as having been written when FEMA primarily focused on hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.
  • The bill would require FEMA to brief Congress on the consistency of assistance in response to wildfires and explain how the agency handles the unique damage that results, including repairing and mitigating contamination from melted infrastructure.
  • A second bill he authored would establish an Office of Civil Rights, Equity, and Inclusion within FEMA, in a bid to improve the quality of disaster assistance for marginalized and underserved communities.

Read the full story HERE.


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