OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On Thursday, Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Rick Scott (R-FL) announced the introduction of the Disaster Contract Transparency Act to improve the disaster contracting process on the federal, local, and state levels of government following natural disasters. The bill will protect victims of natural disasters by ensuring post-disaster services are delivered quickly and taxpayer dollars are spent solely on helping impacted communities.
Last year, the Government Accountability Office reported that, as of May 31, 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) executed $4.5 billion in advance contract obligations—about 56 percent of the total obligations made by these agencies for response and recovery efforts—for three hurricanes and California wildfires in 2017.
“This important bill will help protect taxpayers from price gouging on debris removal services once the federal government decides to offer FEMA assistance,” Lankford said. “Oklahomans are unfortunately well acquainted with natural disasters and severe weather, particularly after this year’s tornadoes and floods.
“This bill sets out important requirements for states to have advance contracts in place before disasters strike to ensure fair pricing for debris removal when the disaster happens. Prioritizing transparency, reporting requirements, and stronger pre-emptive disaster service contracts will help prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
“In Florida, we experienced firsthand the devastation and destruction massive storms have on families, communities and businesses across our state,” Scott said. “During my time as Governor, we were faced with many hurricanes, and I always appreciated the assistance FEMA provided to Florida families and businesses.
“However, despite the good work done by our federal partners, one thing was clear: the federal contracting process is full of waste, inefficiencies, and bloated spending that didn’t always directly help the people in Florida who were impacted. When I ran for Senate, I promised to fight waste and make Washington work—and this landmark legislation will make sure the federal response to storms gets rid of the inefficient and costly bureaucracies in response efforts and keeps it focused on helping the victims and communities impacted.”
The Disaster Contract Transparency Act: