Our bill is crafted in a manner that won’t require a new appropriation to FEMA. The additional 4 percent of funding awarded to qualifying states struck by future disasters would be paid for by reallocating existing funds inside the FEMA-managed Disaster Relief Fund. Furthermore, additional research shows that investments in mitigation activities, such as the adoption of strong building codes, generate big returns for taxpayers and the economy. According to a 2005 FEMA-commissioned study by the National Institute of Building Sciences, for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation at the federal level, the nation reaps $4 in benefits.
The facts surrounding strong building codes are clear and widely embraced by disaster mitigation experts and emergency management officials. As Congress considers disaster funding in response to Hurricane Irene, the Safe Building Code Incentive Act can make our homes and communities safer and stronger while reducing long-term costs, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars. We can’t afford to pass up an opportunity to do something lasting for the American people.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) is a member of the Appropriations Committee. Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.