U.S. Rep Katko’s bill to expand rural access to federal disaster aid moves closer to House vote

U.S. Rep. John Katko’s bill to secure federal disaster aid for rural communities is moving towards a House vote.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee pushed the legislation forward on Thursday, April 28. Katko’s bill aims improve access to federal disaster relief aid for rural areas.

Related: Lake levels surge by more than a foot in hours: Docks swamped in Finger Lakes as rain causes worst flooding in decades

Katko’s draws inspiration for the bill from a severe weather event that hit Cayuga County in 2017. The state applied for a major disaster declaration to help secure federal aid for the county, but this request was denied and an appeal rejected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Related: CAYUGA FLOODED: Roads, basements swell as heavy rain falls (full-coverage)

If Katko’s bill is passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden, it would make two key changes regarding FEMA’s disaster response: The first would expand the role of FEMA’s small state and rural advocate. The second would require the Government Accountability Office to review FEMA’s deployment of individual assistance in the wake of disasters.

Related: U.S. Rep. Katko secures $9M for projects in CNY, Cayuga and Wayne counties

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