Padilla, Boozman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Establish an Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience at the EDA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act. This bipartisan bill would establish a permanent Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience within the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which would be tasked with supporting the short- and long-term economic recovery efforts of communities impacted by natural disasters.

Although the EDA has a long history of supporting disaster recovery and resilience efforts, there is currently no dedicated bureau or office to direct and implement the economic recovery support function activities of the agency. This legislation would formally create an EDA Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience, which could expedite deployment of resources and improve service delivery to communities.

“Economic recovery and revitalization are crucial elements of post-disaster assistance,” said Senator Padilla. “Even with federal assistance to rebuild damaged roads, bridges, and homes, communities can remain impacted for decades after a natural disaster. As extreme weather events become more frequent across the country, disaster recovery activities are increasingly critical to EDA’s mission of promoting more resilient economies. We must formalize EDA’s role in post-disaster assistance to better help communities prepare for, mitigate, and recover from the negative economic impacts of natural disasters.”

“Arkansans are unfortunately very familiar with the devastation caused by natural disasters. The EDA’s leadership is crucial to the recovery and resilience of communities during these challenging circumstances. Clearly defining the EDA’s role will help improve the federal response and long term economic outcome,” said Senator Boozman.

“The creation of an Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience within the U.S. Economic Development Administration would not only help strengthen communities’ disaster readiness planning efforts, but would also help enhance the impacts of EDA’s disaster mitigation investments. This exciting legislation will help bolster the important role that EDA plays in supporting long-term community economic recovery,” said Joe McKinney, Executive Director, National Association of Development Organizations.

“Natural disasters wreak havoc in local communities, claiming homes, jobs and sometimes lives.  After the initial emergency response has been met, devastated communities need resources to rebuild.  The International Economic Development Council is grateful for Senator Padilla’s leadership of the Office of Disaster Recovery Act which recognizes the importance of supporting sustainable economic regrowth and vitality of disaster-impacted communities,” said Nathan Ohle, President and CEO of the International Economic Development Council.

Senator Padilla recently highlighted several of his priorities for EDA reauthorization legislation during a recent hearing by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. In addition to the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act, Padilla has introduced the Economic Empowerment Through Predevelopment Act, which would authorize EDA to make grants or cooperative agreements available for planning and predevelopment of infrastructure projects to support communities across the country.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Full text of the bill is available here.


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