IAEM-USA Government Affairs Committee

U.S. Capitol Dome (photo: Architect of the Capitol)

Committee Chair:
Doug Bryson, CEM

Committee Vice Chairs:
Brad Gilbert

Board Liaison:
Carrie Speranza, CEM, USAsecretary@iaem.com

Policy Advisor & Staff Liaison:
Thad Huguley, thad@iaem.com

Purpose Statement | Documents & Links | News | IAEM-USA Government Affairs Update

IAEM members interested in participating in this committee should email the committee leadership and tell them how you can contribute to or learn from this committee’s important work. IAEM members may easily retrieve the committee leadership email addresses by downloading the complete list.

Purpose Statement

Monitor proposed legislation at the federal, state and/or local level which may impact emergency management activities or the goals of the association, or may set a precedent for the future legal implications.

U.S. Government Affairs Documents & Links

U.S. Government Affairs News

  • IAEM Urges FCC to Allow Use of Multimedia in Wireless Alerts (29 May 2018) IAEM, in coordination with Big City Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association, sent a letter on May 29 to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging the FCC to allow the inclusion of multimedia in wireless alerts, a long over-due and desperately needed update to the WEA system. Download letter.

IAEM-USA member, Mary Jo Flynn, met May 29, 2018, on Capitol Hill with staff from the Senate
Commerce Committee to discuss the use and operation of autonomous vehicles during a mass
evacuation, an issue of interest to IAEM-USA's Emerging Technology Caucus.

  • IAEM, NEMA, and NACO Submit a Joint Statement for the Record to the Senate Homeland Security Committee (17 Apr 2018) In conjunction with their hearing last week entitled “FEMA: Prioritizing a Culture of Preparedness,” the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee individually asked the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), and IAEM to submit a statement for the record. To demonstrate a united front to Capitol Hill, all three organizations opted to submit a joint statement to the Committee. Download the joint statement here.
  • IAEM-USA and NEMA Release 7th Annual Report on "Emergency Management Performance Grants: Providing Returns on a Nation’s Investment" (06 Mar 2018) Without a robust emergency management system, the responses to many disasters would falter or require federal support. Capabilities afforded through Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) allow these events to be managed without additional federal expenditures. As demonstrated in this report, local, tribal, and state governments managed 57,673 events without federal assistance in Fiscal Year 2017. While disasters remain unpredictable, and no investment can completely eliminate risk, supporting the development of nationwide capabilities continues minimizing disaster effects. This report represents a mere glimpse into how EMPG impacts the disaster preparedness and response landscape. However, there is so much more happening across the country that cannot be expressed on paper. EMPG stands as a beacon of Congressional support, and both IAEM-USA and NEMA remain appreciative of the support. We hope such support continues as emergency managers put these funds to good use and work tirelessly to demonstrate the return on the nation’s investment.
  • FEMA Seeks Public Feedback by Feb. 5 for an Update of NIMS Implementation Objectives (16 Jan 2018) FEMA’s National Integration Center is seeking public feedback for an update of the state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) National Incident Management System (NIMS) Implementation Objectives for SLTT organizations and jurisdictions. The national engagement period opened on Jan. 16, 2018, and will conclude on Feb. 5, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. National engagement provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the draft implementation objectives, to ensure that they are relevant for all implementing partners. FEMA most recently revised the NIMS Implementation Objectives in 2009 and is now updating them to ensure they are consistent with the Third Edition of NIMS, to incorporate stakeholder input, and to make them a more useful tool for organizations as they implement NIMS. FEMA will host three webinars to discuss the proposed SLTT NIMS Implementation Objectives and answer related questions. For more information on the webinars and to review the draft objectives, visit the FEMA website. To provide comments on the draft, complete the feedback form and submit it to FEMA-NIMS@fema.dhs.gov

FEMA will host a series of webinars to discuss the proposed SLTT NIMS Implementation Objectives and answer related objectives (Federal departments and agencies use a separate set of Implementation Objectives). Advance registration for the webinars is required due to space limitations. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. To register, click on your preferred webinar session from the list below:

Webinar 1: Thursday, January 18, 2:00 pm EDT 
Webinar 2: Monday, January 22, 5:00 pm EDT 
Webinar 3: Tuesday, January 23, 12:00 pm EDT 
For more information on the webinars, visit the FEMA website.

  • IAEM-USA and Other National Public Safety Organizations Call for Improvements in the Wireless Emergency Alert System (05 Jan 2018) IAEM-USA, along with NEMA, Big City Emergency Managers, US Conference of Mayors, and the National Emergency Number Association sent a letter to the FCC today urging expeditious implementation of much-needed improvements to the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. Download letter.
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Releases the FY2018 Chairman’s Recommendation and Explanatory Statement for the Department of Homeland Security.(27 Nov 2017) See related information in the Nov. 27 IAEM-USA Government Affairs Update, which is an IAEM member benefit. If you aren't subscribing to the Update, you're missing out – take a few minutes to subscribe
  • IAEM-USA Government Affairs Committee Agenda (12 Nov 2017, IAEM Annual Conference)
  • FEMA Publishes Final Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for National Flood Insurance Program (02 Nov 2017) On Nov. 3, 2017, FEMA will publish in the Federal Register the final National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (NPEIS) for public comment. As required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FEMA developed a final NPEIS to examine the impacts of proposed modifications to the NFIP. NEPA specifically directs federal agencies to thoroughly assess the environmental consequences of major federal actions that could significantly affect the environment. Because changes to the NFIP are considered to be a major federal action, FEMA prepared this final NPEIS.

    Today, more than 22,000 communities participate in the NFIP, with more than 5.1 million NFIP policies in effect, providing over $1.2 trillion in insurance coverage. The NFIP serves as the foundation for national efforts to reduce the loss of property from flood disaster.
    This final NPEIS includes an evaluation of the potential impacts to the natural and human environment associated with the NFIP at a programmatic level, as well as an evaluation of impacts of alternative proposals to modify the NFIP. Learn more online.
    Related documentsNPEIS Federal Register Notice (Oct 2017) | NFIP Final Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Sept 2017)

    Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods and must be identified by Docket ID FEMA-2012-0012. The deadline to submit any comments is Dec. 3, 2017.
         > Federal eRulemaking Portal: Search for Docket ID FEMA-2012-0012 and follow the instructions for submitting comments.
         > Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Regulatory Affairs Legal Division, Office of Chief Counsel, Federal Emergency Management
            Agency, 500 C Street SW, Room 8NE, Washington, DC 20472.
  • FEMA Administrator Testifies at Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Hurricane Reponse (31 Oct 2017) The Senate Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on “2017 Hurricane Season: Oversight of the Federal Response,” Oct. 31, 2017, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC. IAEM-Global Board member Eddie Hicks, CEM, was present at the hearing.
    • Visit this link to view the recording of the hearing, and obtain links to all testimony provided to the committee. 
    • Download testimony of FEMA Administrator Brock Long.
  • IAEM-USA Letter to Senate Commerce Committee on the NOAA Adminstrator Nomination (23 Oct 2017)
  • IAEM-USA Statement on the NOAA Administrator Nomination Process (19 Oct 2017)
  • IAEM-USA Joins Group of 29 Stakeholders to Voice Support for Stronger Flood-ready Standards (25 Sept 2017) IAEM-USA joined 29 stakeholder organizations in signing on to a Sept. 25 letter to express support for stronger flood-ready standards for federally funded building and rebuilding projects and to offer its assistance to the administration toward building such a standard. The letter was sent to Gary D. Cohn, National Economic Council; Mick Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget, and Thomas Bossert, Executive Office of the President. Citing the recent devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the coalition stated that despite that fact that they represent divergent views on some issues, they “are of one mind in that we need flood-ready infrastructure standards for federally-funded building and rebuilding to ensure our communities and infrastructure are tougher and stronger.” The letter notes that “a federal flood-ready standard for [these projects] will help to protect people and property, reduce federal costs associated with rebuilding after tremendous flood losses, and make communities stronger.” Download the letter.
  • IAEM-USA and a Coalition of Seven Other Stakeholders Reach out to Senate and House Leaders About Concerns with How Disaster Relief Fund and Disaster Cap Are Funded (07 Sept 2017) A group of key stakeholder organizations, including IAEM-USA, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Congressional Fire Services Institute, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Emergency Management Association, National Volunteer Fire Council, and National Fire Protection Association, delivered a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate, concerning the urgent need to address how the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) and the Disaster Relief Allowable Adjustment (Disaster Cap) are funded. The letter stated that current funding levels for the DRF and Disaster Cap place these important accounts in a very precarious position, which threatens the ability of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to disasters across the United States. The organizations urge Congress to improve the calculation used to determine the funding levels for these accounts, as well as establish an improved funding mechanism to support the federal government’s wildland fire suppression activities. The DRF is FEMA’s primary source of funding for disaster assistance to state, local, and tribal governments, and certain private nonprofits. When a disaster overwhelms a state, a governor can request a disaster declaration. If the President approves it, the state may receive assistance through several programs, such as Public Assistance and Individual Assistance – all of which are funded through the DRF. However, the DRF is facing a steep decline in funding due to the formula used to determine its funding level. While the DRF should be reserved solely for use by FEMA, a strengthened Disaster Cap and FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund can ensure that FEMA, USDA, and DOI all have the resources they need to complete their important, lifesaving missions.
  • IAEM-USA Supports Dr. Daniel Daniel J. Kaniewski to be FEMA Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness (31 Aug 2017) IAEM-USA today delivered a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee urging Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill to quickly take up the nomination of Dr. Daniel Kaniewski to be FEMA’s Deputy Administrator of National Preparedness. IAEM-USA was pleased to see Brock Long confirmed as FEMA Administrator in July, but Administrator Long needs his full team in place as quickly as possible to help with Hurricane Harvey-related response and recovery. “Dr. Kaniewski brings extensive leadership experience assisting and supporting local, state, and federal governments with building robust emergency management and supporting risk threat and management,” stressed IAEM-USA President Lanita A. Lloyd. “Of great importance to IAEM-USA, he recognizes the value of all the emergency preparedness, response, and mitigation grants administered by FEMA. He understands and respects the role of FEMA as a partner with state and local stakeholders, and the whole community.”

    Dr. Kaniewski previously served in the White House as director of response and recovery policy and later as a special assistant to the president for homeland security, and senior director for response policy for President George W. Bush. He was a co-author of The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned and shepherded improvements to emergency management to ensure our nation was better prepared for all-hazards. Dr. Kaniewski began his career as a firefighter and paramedic in Minnesota. He has built his career in helping local, state, and federal governments prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate our nation’s natural and man-made disasters.
  • Recommended Reading from ASFPM Senior Policy Advisor Larry Larson on the National Flood Insurance Program (29 Aug 2017) The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is “more than just an insurance program,” according to Larry Larsen, senior policy advisor for the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM). In an article recently posted on the ASFPM website, Larsen noted “The NFIP is the nation’s only comprehensive flood risk management program, with four components: flood mapping to identify and map flood-risk areas; floodplain management to protect people and development in high-risk areas; flood mitigation to help reduce risks to existing property; and flood insurance so those living at risk pay at least part of the cost of that risk.” The article, Setting People Straight on Six NFIP Myths, addresses common misconceptions of the NFIP and includes important observations in regard to flood risk mitigation.

IAEM-USA Government Affairs Director Thad Huguley appeared in a podcast on legislative advocacy
held Aug. 23, 2017, hosted by George Whitney, Complete EM®
. Listen to the podcast.

  • IAEM-USA Signs on to Informal Coalition Letter Supporting Nomination of Dr. Robert Kadlec as HHS assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response (21 Aug 2017) IAEM-USA signed on to a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions from an information coalition of 12 organizations on biodefense and public health preparedness to support the nomination of Robert Kadlec, MD, MS, as the assistant secretary for Preparedness & Response, Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Dr. Kadlec has a long history of public service and strong expertise in public health policy, intelligence and preparedness. He spent 26 years as a career officer and physician in the United States Air Force, serving in several senior positions in the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Kadlec is currently the majority deputy staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He served as the special assistant to the President and senior director for biodefense policy on the Homeland Security Council, where he was responsible for conducting a biodefense end-to-end assessment, which culminated in drafting the National Biodefense Policy for the 21st century. Dr. Kadlec’s contributions to biodefence, biosecurity, public health preparedness and response are a testament to his knowledge of issues facing HHS in securing a healthy future for all Americans. Download the letter to learn more.
  • IAEM-USA Signs on to Letter Urging Congress to Reject Proposals to Utilize the DRF to Fund Federal Wildland Fire Suppression Operations (24 July 2017) IAEM-USA and 5 other stakeholders organizations signed on to a letter urging Congress to reject proposals to utilize the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to fund federal wildland fire suppression operations. Download July 21 letter to the chair and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. The letter expresses serious concerns about the proposal to utilize the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) to fund wildland fire suppression efforts. Utilizing the DRF will undermine the basic premise of federal disaster assistance in this country and will have severe negative impacts on the DRF. This fundamental shift will change the purpose of the DRF and set a troubling precedent that could limit FEMA’s ability to support disaster response and recovery at the tribal, local, and state levels.
  • See U.S. Government Affairs News from January through June 2017