Should FEMA stay where it is?

Emergency Management Alert, March 24, 2009

On March 17, a House Homeland Security Committee panel heard arguments about whether it makes sense to separate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Some congressional lawmakers and disaster experts argued that removing FEMA from the DHS umbrella would take away resources the agency needs to continue improving. The committee heard testimony as it examined FEMA’s progress since Congress passed the 2006 Post-Katrina Emergency Management Act to strengthen the federal agency, which came under fire for its slow response after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, reported Federal

In February, Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced legislation to make FEMA an independent agency, arguing its effectiveness has deteriorated since it was made part of DHS.

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