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Friday, March 8, 2013

Summary Report: Congressional Action on the FY2013 Disaster Supplemental

William L. Painter, Coordinator
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

Jared T. Brown
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

On January 29, 2013, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, a $50.7 billion package of disaster assistance largely focused on responding to Hurricane Sandy, was enacted as P.L. 113-2.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy impacted a wide swath of the East Coast of the United States, resulting in more than 120 deaths and major disaster declarations for 12 states plus the District of Columbia. The Administration submitted a request to Congress on December 7, 2012, for $60.4 billion in supplemental funding and legislative provisions to address both the immediate losses and damages from Hurricane Sandy, as well as to mitigate the damage from future disasters in the impacted region.

On January 15, 2013, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013. This bill included $50.7 billion in disaster assistance. This was the third piece of disaster legislation considered by the House in the 113
th Congress. H.R. 41, which passed the House and Senate on January 4, 2013 and was signed into law two days later as P.L. 113-1, provided $9.7 billion in additional borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program. On January 14, the House passed H.R. 219, legislation making changes to disaster assistance programs. The rule for consideration of H.R. 152 combined the text of H.R. 219 with H.R. 152 upon its engrossment, to send them to the Senate as a single package.

The Senate passed H.R. 152 unchanged on January 28, 2013 by a vote of 62-36, and it was signed into law as P.L. 113-2 the next day.

H.R. 152 was not the initial legislative response to the storm. In the 112
th Congress, the Senate passed a separate package of disaster assistance totaling $60.4 billion, as well as several legislative provisions reforming federal disaster programs. While appropriations legislation generally originates in the House of Representatives, the Senate chose to act on the Administration’s request first by amending an existing piece of House-passed appropriations legislation—H.R. 1. This passed the Senate December 28, 2012, by a vote of 62-32. The House did not act on the legislation before the end of the 112th Congress.

This summary report analyzes the Administration’s request, the initial Senate position from the 112
th Congress, and H.R. 152, the legislative package developed in the House that was ultimately enacted as P.L. 113-2.

For details concerning the legislative provisions requested by the Administration, as well as those included in Senate-amended H.R. 1, see CRS Report R42869, FY2013 Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief.

Date of Report: February 20, 2013
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R42892
Price: $29.95

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