Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz knows a thing or two about emergency management, and he believes it’s high time that the federal agency responsible for handling disasters nationwide regains its position in the President’s Cabinet.
Now, Moskowitz and Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana have introduced legislation to make that happen.
The bill would remove the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and again make it a Cabinet-level agency. It’s titled the “FEMA Independence Act of 2023.”
“As the first Emergency management Director ever elected to Congress, I have seen firsthand the challenges faced when responding to emergencies, recovering from them, and mitigating their impacts,” he said in a statement. “That is why … we have introduced legislation that will remove FEMA from DHS, returning it to being an independent federal agency — as it was originally intended.”
Former President Jimmy Carter created FEMA through an executive order in 1979. He gave the agency a dual mission of emergency management and civil defense.
Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, did not continue the policy. Through the signing of the Homeland Security Act, he placed the agency and 21 others under the newly created DHS in 2003.
“When disaster threatens, we need action not bureaucracy. Having FEMA buried within the Department of Homeland Security only contributes to delays, lack of action, and do-loops,” Graves said in a statement. “This experiment of putting FEMA under the Secretary of Homeland Security has failed. They can’t even handle the border.”