tv FEMA Administrator Testifies on Presidents 2023 Budget CSPAN June 18, 2022 4:52am-6:18am EDT
they want to take down the statutes that teddy roosevelt and thomas jefferson and abraham lincoln, and george washington same off of the schools in san francisco, all of these things to try to delegitimize the founding principles of our country to basically impose their ideologies and the foundational governing principles of our society so we will not let that happen in the state of florida. now when you stand up against that, just so everyone understands, you face a lot of blowback, because most people in our society reject brokenness, wholesale, they just thank you so on when you're doing some of this stuff but it's got a strong foothold in many elite institutions and the media big tech, and universities in the federal bureaucracy and all in all down the line but what i found is that when you're standing up for the truth, you're going to come at you and sling arrows at you but if you stand your ground,
understanding for the right thing, the people understand what is true and what is not true love an army of people that will be with you through thick and thin the minute to show them you're willing to fight for them in the minute you show them into are willing to stand up for what is right when it is not easy because many elected officials are trying to say the right thing and then if they start to get blowback in, then start to run for the hills and so we've done is we stood in that arena and we have not backed down we have made sure to deliver big victories for the state of florida and you know all that really takes about when you are battling these horses, have some common sense and show a little bit of courage and if you do the things, you can do very very well and so in the state of florida, we are proud of what we've been able to accomplish and we have done more than anyone thought reasonably would've been possible and i can tell you we have only began to fight and want a big mission down there and we are going to
[applause] thank you. i assume all of those jurors were for me. i'm sure no introductions are needed but i will give you a brief one. mike pompeo great-grandparents arrived in the united states around 1900. now italy. a. [laughter] born and raised in california and then he went to west point where he was a first in his class. he then spent five years as a u.s. army officer. and then went to harvard law school where he was an editor but much greater distinction research assistant for the great mary and glendon. moved to kansas, went into business was elected to congress
2010 but president trump ended that career by making him director of the cia. he ran cia for two years, was then named secretary of state where he served 2018 until january 2021. among the many things he did as secretary was he was my boss. i will tell you, i left every day of it. i'm not sure you left every day of it you look so much younger and better now that you are out of that job. [applause] >> i feel better too. before we talk about the state department i want to talk about the world.
begin with something that happened last week. the secretary of state kissinger, your predecessor spoke at davos world economic forum and said we need to be careful about ukraine. we need not to push too hard. rush is a great power. we need to be respectful of it. is that good advice for the president? how is the president doing on ukraine? [laughter] >> my goodness but first of all thank you all for having me here. [applause] i made some really good decisions as secretary of state. i made some there were and one of the first things i did was i needed elliott to be part of my team. you should know it was not without personal political cost to bring him onto the team. but boy i tell you i got that
one right. bless you you served america, you worked in venezuela, ironic, and elliott would never miss a moment as we were finishing up omar thought totally out of my lane and often give us of the best advice i received every day. doctor kissinger just has this been wrong but i respect for him. he is right that we should be careful. we should be careful to make sure authoritarian thugs cannot take real estate by force and kill innocent civilians when america has made commitments that are different from that as we rightly should have. he has a long history. he knows this place. we note this much. we know that not only does this matter to the ukrainian people into europe but the whole world is watching. whether was the debacle that happened with 13 americans killed in afghanistan, or
walking away from some of the most central commitments who made in other parts of the world the world is watching how we respond and provide support to ukraine or something with the tools of weapon system to protect their own people and protect our nation's sovereignty. i get the caution that people have it. but i do not think for a second vladimir putin needs a reason to escalate. all of the things he has put forward overtime weathers nato enlargement as a result, blinded by the truth we had as his admissions the restoration of greater russia presented himself this past week put himself in the likes of peter the great. i spent ten hours with him. i was always unambiguous about the personal belief that these ukrainian people are russian people. we should not forget the history of jews in russia and ukraine as well but we should not forget the russian orthodox church has gone full on authoritarian. it's precisely vladimir putin is
doing. we should pray this administration will begin to deliver the tools ukrainian people need to do what is noble, right, and decent. [applause] >> since this is the jewish leadership conference i want to move a few hundred miles to israel and talk about the abraham accords. but first, you were there a few weeks ago you and i overlap that day. you are making a video or film, tell us about that. >> it was a great trip i came at the invitation of the greatest ambassador the u.s. ambassador in the history of israel. who said mike, i want to go with you. i went to walk to the dead river, i said i pulled back and said i'm not walking. [laughter] we traced route 60. he told the story that will
become a documentary, we told the story of the bible i focus mostly on the new testament he did the old testament. but we were telling multiple stories bouma's biblical truth. but importantly want to tell story about these places you day and samaria. as a first secretary of state ever go there. [applause] i was surprised to be the first. but i hope that when people, whether christians, muslims, jews whoever see this i hope they will come to see the story that gets told. if everyone's image of these places are people throwing molotov cocktails and violent and complex, you can watch this is not the story of this place for their two pieces one was tell the story the rightful parts of the jewish home on the nation of israel. and second, to encourage people
to go see that. there are some places that are difficult. most of them are places everyone can get too. the people that lived here jews and christians all living together in neighborhoods and they figured out. or try to dispel some of the notion is the mind of the american public and i think the global community about this place. hopefully the documentary will do a little to advance that storyline, that narrative. >> he did the abraham accord. >> a whole bunch of us did the abraham accord. >> possible to expand them? >> yes absolutely possible. maybe discounts are my christian faith. although my wife would deny i am an optimist by nature. yes i think they will be expanded. will be expanded because they make sense for just as we put america first every leader in the world puts her own nation
first. we often get shorthanded or criticized for that has historic connotations. we are always focused on how to deliver on the promises we made to the american people in her oath to our constitution. that's how we spent our day, right? leaders of big muslim nations it's out of their best interest to continue to have a support foreign policy prescription the disruption of the nation of israel. there's an incentive to get it right. but things have to come together pray to handle things have to come together. one really good american leadership that started with a foundational understanding of a deep connection between the united states and israel and their paramount importance to the united states of america. we get that right many good things can happen. we push back on ironic, destabilizing force in the region but we begin to deny them resources. [applause] and tools. and when you do that when they get those two pieces right if
the opportunity to know there is a possibility they could actually recognize israel's right to exist in their street will not a wrapped bread that has been historic legacy. give them space to move forward making peace with israel despite the fact the conflict between israel and the palestinians has yet been reviled. we been successful at doing each of those takes good leadership president trump, muhammad, the crown prince and a bahrain, it takes really good leaders coming together around this moment. that being prepared to take what is a non- zero risk and actually do what they know is right for the people pretty think these will continue. but it is going to take american leadership edward instrumental part of making the court happen. i have israeli leaders the united states of america no muslim leader is going to step out on a limb i hope i'm wrong
about that. it was the case they were looking at us, watching how america was going to respond to things did not go as we hope they would. it may not be in the middle east it could be an asian muslim country we often forget the biggest muslim are in fact in the middle east north africa, egypt, india i'm sorry indonesia, malaysia, pakistan, big muslim population health is nations will soon come to recognize it's in their best interest to get this right. >> trump administration got out of the jcp oap the bi demonstration is trying well for year end a half to get back to the jp coa. so far has not made much progress is that good or bad? >> you and i have both been accused of make it impossible for them to get back in. i was think god bless that. [laughter] works the truth is we have reached a point where it's
probably less material today than it was two, four, six years ago to get back into something at the duration that's unimportant affect the iranians have now removed all of the cameras. we have moved so far past the 2015 jcp away. i prefer they not do it but at some point there so much more to our policy or middle east policy that jcp away today. the mindset of the jcp away is dangerous. apart from the deal itself with the mindset is you need to support their rating so they can be a counterforce this is the best argument i can make for the biden approach. they could be a counterforce through the sunnis in the region. it is just craig plays crazy. i'm not a diplomat anymore i'm an unemployed former diplomat. i can speak a language i would not have used 18 months ago. it's a mistake the united states, is a mistake for the region. the uranian's present the most
risk of terror. and the proliferation risk that comes from my rod and their friends were the friends of the chinese communist party. other but eight nicholas was round this week. we need to deny the iranians the resources and tools to put the rest of the world at risk. it may well be the case we had $96 billion as a fact, we look from $96 billion in foreign exchange reserves to about 4 billion the debris walked out of the office knew to generate 20th. and even the commercials patient international space know then the expire and they would have expired two or three months from our departure you have to make really difficult decisions. we can arty see lowing payments going to has blocked, reduced capacity controlled the ship militia and iraq. we see that happening. we were headed down the right path it was the only way
forward. i fear it may be the enrichment is gone too far they buried the program to deep it will be difficult to find a negotiated solution and it will take warriors to push back against what iran intends. one last story i think it was my fourth day as the ci director worked very hard for marco rubio in the primaries was chosen by donald trump. and i got a chance to think it through with president trump from the beginning how we are going to address that i knew it would be hard. my fourth or fifth day as the cia director i flew to israel met with my counterpart the director now former director cohen. best looking spy ever. [laughter] and we began, along with two great ambassadors, freedman and ambassador dermer who is sitting
here. [applause] and my team and their treatment are diplomatic teams began to work out a handful of ideas that could deliver not tomorrow or next week but over time to produce really good outcomes in the event we had to do something very difficult there. israelis have lots of tools buried we have lots of tools put together we can deliver on the things that matter most. and i hope we have the tenacity and the courage of the leadership in the united states alongside israeli leadership to make sure we do indeed are prepared the day it comes to the moment we have to do what is right to make sure iran never has the capacity to either build a weapon system or to proliferate the enrich materials that they arty have. [applause] >> one aspect of the iran policy is people don't generally recognize we spent so much time on is getting american hostages american prisoners out.
when you were secretary got out in exchange for dollars we remember the pallets of cash in 2015. i guess the question is how do you do that? in the last year end a half the numbers again zero. how do you get american prisoners out in a hostile situation like that? >> interesting question. it really proud of the fact we got this for back. we had one more taken depend how one counts during our time in service as well. which i regret. we not only got them back at a time we were actively hostile one should not forget that we took a strike that took down around second most senior leader. [applause]
>> the simple answer to that is, this comes with all things about global leadership. people have to understand you are serious, resolved to determine for they have to know -- mikhail think anybody believe for a second we're going to send the 82nd airborne in to solve these problems. president trump was pretty clear about that. but also the things we said we were going to do, we ground away on. we pounded it every day. and every commitment that we made weeds at our level best to deliver against those who were within our control. if i am proud of one thing it was that if we said we're going to do x and it was within our control, some happened it 11:00 o'clock a generally twice in the morning just before walked up at every sickle thing was ever to go do that was within our control we actually execute against but that sent a message gives you the capacity to free people been wrongfully detained all across the world but not just those held in aerobic out folks out of lots of places during our time. i will never forget them when it
came back to joint base andrews about a hostage home from north korea. you do big things in the abraham according biggest strategic it's a personal matter. there is nothing like the moment sitting on the tarmac after had been returned only to die within days of his return. to watch these three americans climbed out of a white panel van on the asphalt under their own power ambulatory and nearly run onto that beautiful american airplane. it was one of the most emotional moments of my life. we should never forget the duty of the american leaders to get these people home to their families is paramount. [applause] >> let's pivot to china as the saying goes. [laughter] question we actually do it or just talk about it. [laughter]
>> sorry. i try not to do politics but i can't help myself sometimes. >> the administration calls it the pacing challenge. other people call a new cold war. how do you see it? >> the chinese, despise butterworth united states and america for at least two decades. we have simply failed to recognize it or address it. for a host of reasons we could spend time talking about or not. as a young cadet at west point your todd by your adversaries two things matter their capability and their intent. chinese commerce party these the first or second largest economy in the world very significant military navy that is still not first-rate but expanding. space force, nuclear arsenal that is still beneath the size of several in the world but growing and capable bird they conducted more missile firing in 2020 than the rest of the world combined. so i give them check the block
for capability, economics, cyber military, all of that. you need only read just a little bit in the english version of the china to note their intent as well. and if you track their actions it would match the words of xi jinping and the diplomatic court that is around him. it's the single largest may be the only true external threat to the united states they could change the way our kids and grandkids live. russia is a bad the taliban is bad too. the only ones that can truly fundamentally undermine the ideas of reason and liberty and freedom on a global scale is the chinese communist party. and one last thought, i began to talk about the fact we ignored it for 20 years the ramifications of that are deep. it means that threat is no longer in external threats. it is inside the gates. i will give you just three short examples.
and i give you the contract example. how many americans do you think are working today and chinese most secret military laboratory? the answer to that i believe to be zero. there are chinese official working and america both senior military laboratories as we sit here today. it is a reflection of how far weight we have been. how many american students are studying in china today? actually let's go pre-covid. 2019 there about 11000 american studying in china for the rep unit 60000 chinese students studying in the united states. i almost said and trump speak i will do it in pompeo. i cannot identify a single university that could survive without money from the chinese communist party today that includes my hometown university of wichita state university up to the most prestigious engineering schools in america think caltech, think mit, think harvard laboratories. they all depend for students and
massive research grants inside of the financial institution at the chinese communist party stopped underwriting our schools today, every single giving official would be calling all of you for more donations. instantaneously. that connectivity matters of the chinese commerce party is not doing that because they love us. last, as a ci directorate we did espionage work around the world. may be the most in porter important counterintelligence work during my time in his office was nuts as cia director but secretary of state. we close the chinese consulate in houston, texas. which i believe and i cannot for this i believe is the largest espionage operation ever conducted against united states of america from inside of her own soil. we had known about it for years, no fbi director or secretary of state ever said yes we think this is work the risk.
you should know, does anybody know the chinese response? i made my case, right? they close the consulate, they close he was consulate were doing precisely nothing. nothing of any grand importance. we were in a position we could do it. we set back with the operations for what i believe it is a significant period of time. mention those three things because we should all acknowledge that when you see chinese officials from the conflict here in the un, the consulate in chicago, or l.a. and they show up at your pta meeting with the 10,000 dollar check for a swing set for your kids, it is not because they care about the well-being of your children. they are determined, they are at scale there inside the gates it's an enormous that's going to take years. and i pray bipartisan effort to actually deliver freedom from that to urinate the chinese posts here and in europe.
and in every other democracy across the world. >> that raises an interesting question that i think we never talked about back at state. about inside the gates. did you experience, she were conducting china policy a pro china lobby in the business community? the financial community? was there a push back? >> massive. massive. five largest financial institution some of you probably work for them. those five institutions have enormous dependency on the chinese commons party today for their counting on managing the wealth of the rising china middle-class. which will be larger than ours, right? and they are being treated well inside of china today. i was her mind that leaders of those companies, you're not being treated well because you're so darn good looking. it's only because you are next.
it is a complicated problem much more difficult and complex than confronting the soviet union. and frankly, much more precarious for the united states prosodic tomorrow problem. some say i am an alarmist. what i am is someone who recognizes every good 12 step program starts with acknowledging you have a problem. we at least got that done on our watch for and began to push back but we left an awful lot of work to do. >> i want to give you credit for something i think is actually really individually to you and that is, and tilt your secretary we talked about china. china this, china that. the switch to talking about the chinese communist party has running china and the problem. not china that is consider a lysing. >> the language matters.
two leading advisors on this issue are both former or both chinese citizens. i am for purdue and for america. it's very important to understand for the threat from whence the threat emanates. this is a communist regime. it is not the beliefs of the chinese people themselves. we should do just as we try to the same thing to support the iranian people living in iran get that headed back the right direction but i want them to be part of this understanding being made in the image of god will be get to that point when we are prepared to engage in that this is not about animus toward the
country of china or the people of china. this is about protecting the values that we matter most. we are going to need indians, south koreans, job needs, europeans if i didn't mention that in all of the west. including over to work on this project alongside us of roughly 75 or 77% of global gdp on freedom and dignity and property rights. will beget that i think each communist part of since the best interest to join the party too. >> a few minutes left. the first day entered the state department and the reagan administration 1981 i was with a friend. it was a square block building. i said wow how may people work in this building? he said about half. [laughter] so i need to ask for. >> your friend was generous. [laughter] >> there is my question.
you ran through the largest and most significant bureaucracies. the cia and the state department. we now enter a period of great challenge maybe it is a new cold war or these bureaucracies up to that challenge? >> seven organizations you give me credit for manager baskin-robbins for. >> i think i left every one of them better than where i found it except for the state department. i mean i say that i'm embarrassed it is embarrassing to me someone who thanks of himself as a leader who can organize and make function get high performance out of teens. elliott's point was a little ingest. the truth is they're great for service offices there were some amazing people, elliot you
worked with them who did glorious work and were patriots. but i cannot toe the resistance i met inside of that building for it is a little bit of resistance against conservatives and republicans paid by think the trump phenomena drove it even further. there were active efforts not just anecdotal but active efforts to work at the liberal media to leaked documents credit cap to have political saw before i did. this is dangerous. this isn't about republicans. when the bureaucracies don't response the duly elected leader of the president of the united states of america and his designated hand barely confirm secretary state that is really dangerous when you have the administrative state believing wholeheartedly they know better and they will wait out a particular administration rep pray every state department official by the cia was varied from that very different culture. very different mindset the cia
had zero units state department has three parts civil service rules largely don't apply at the cia. they apply wholeheartedly hope everyone in the state department today is doing what president biden wants us to do that is her duty to the united states and it is what they signed up for but that did not happen on our watch that is not healthy for american foreign policy is really, really unhealthy for democracy as well. undoing it is an enormous task. once secretary baker reminded me much wise counsel, stop whining young man and just do your job. [laughter] >> a problem is beset that institution for quite some time. some president will pick this up and worth it is the political costs to try and fix it pray pray that they will not fix it in a conservative mindset republican minds about fix-it in an american mindset.
[applause] >> i wish we had another hour or two but we don't. please join me in thanking the. >> can i say one more thing? >> from without. my wife jokes people hear me speak and they walk out of the room and papa's antics, right? [laughter] or a cocktail or in some cases both which is a really bad idea. you should know i am long america choose in your city financial term. i would not be in the spy, elliott would not be in this fight today there are many things we could go spend that's our time on forever not been the spite of i did not believe deeply in this american experiment we are going to get 100 years wept up work at it doesn't come easy. it has never come easy. do not lose faith. stay the course. all the things that matter the
most is no reason to give an inch. continue to fight for the things that really do make a difference. and when we get our kids and grandkids will get to live in this place where this is a most amazing thing we could to put our hands on. i believe this with all of my heart. what come to something like this on a saturday and see all of you come out to be part of this effort it is even more encouraging to me. and i believe it even more proud you all, thank you.
the subcommittee on emergency preparedness response and recovery will be in order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare the subcommittee in recess at any point. i'd like to say good morning. you do fulfill your mission of helping people before, during, and afters astors. we are here to discuss fema's budget request for fiscal year 2023, management of recent disasters, and preparedness for future ones. the threat of climate change continues to grow due to increasing temperatures. it appears record-breaking weather is our new reality. who oceanic and atmospheric
administration has predicted another above average hurricane season. in 2021 there were 58 major disaster declarations. this year we have already had 20 major disaster declarations. in 2017 hurricane irma caused 84 deaths in my home state of florida. and, nearly 50 billion in damages for the united states. in 2020 hurricane sally severely impacted florida and resulted in 7.3 billion in damages across the florida panhandle and alabama. in 2020 to allow the florida forest service has reported that 37 wildfires have destroyed over 22,000 acres in the state. and this year fema's preparedness efforts could very well be impacted by supply
chain shortages. in florida we have real concerns about the critical labor and supply chain shortages that are impacting florida's electric cooperatives. and municipalities. these issues and highlight the importance for preparedness in disasters at all levels. and certainly creates additional challenges for fema's workforce. this subcommittee, without a doubt, recognizes the overwhelming responsibility placed on fema. and is held this year on fema's workforce, fema's workforce has experienced several challenges related to recruitment, retention, and training for example. i understand that fema is working to address these challenges and i look forward to hearing more today about how the agency is working to help this incredible workforce
thrive. investing in fema's workforce ensures that they will be continued to prepared for cat tackling they request to contain several initiatives to help support and strengthen fema's workforce. the for the incident management workforce. fema administers preparedness grants to states and local such as the urban area security initiative and the state homeland security program. see these funds assist states with building and maintaining homeless clarity capabilities to prepare for and prepare for threats. as a former law enforcement when i was a police chief. i relied i relied on the program to keep my community
safe. . last year i introduced hr 50 1:15 that recognizes the. importance of an important security capabilities achieved funding for communities. i am pleased the legislation passed the house in march. i am confident that this subcommittee will continue to do our part and push for this legislation to become law. as an advocate for the program, i am concerned about the agency 's budget request for fiscal year 2023. which proposes cuts to the urban area security initiative, and the state of homeland security program. i look forward to our conversation today about these vital programs. i am pleased, though, to say that the proposed budget request includes 360 million for the nonprofit security grant program, which is 110
million above fiscal year 2022 funding. the proposed funding increases especially important in recent years. we have seen a spat of threats against nonprofits, specifically houses of worship and including 36 bomb threats to historically black colleges and universities alone. this year, we have seen the value of the nonprofit security grant program. for example, rebecca citron walker recalled training funded by the program. congregants escape an armed vigil who is holding them hostage at a congregation beth israel synagogue in colleyville, texas. furthermore, i am a proud sponsor of chairman thompson's legislation, hr 76 68, a federal emergency management advancement of equity act, which is a tremendous step in
making certain the disaster response more adequately meets the needs in the most vulnerable areas throughout our nation. i look forward to hearing from you administrator criswell about how the proposed budget helps bolster fema readiness to tackle the ever growing threats and how congress can continue to assist in supporting your mission. the chair now recognizes the ranking member of the ad merge unseat preparedness response and recovery subcommittee, the gentlewoman of florida, miss cabin, for her opening statement. >> thank you for holding this important hearing today. thank you to administer criswell, for being here before us. as floridians, of course, i think there's far more that we agree on and it comes on this huge issue, and most others. i'm excited for today's hearing. as we all know, fema's mission is to help people before,
during, and after disasters. i put an emphasis on before because i think collectively when we place an emphasis on mitigation, we are better for in the aftermath. with the 2022 atlantic hurricane season entering its second week, this mission cannot be understated, overstated. as representatives from florida, i know that the chairwoman and i both agree that our state certainly has seen its fair share of natural disasters. during my time as the ranking member of the subcommittee, i have gained a deeper appreciation for the vital work that fema does. for the men and women that comprise fema's workforce. i've also seen the incredible work that we had of ahead of us. i feel confident that we will succeed. for example, this suite of preparedness grants provides critical support so that state, local, tribal governments have the resources to keep our communities safe.
following that horrific attack against the congregation beth israel synagogue in colleyville, texas, i was pleased to see the increase to the nonprofit security grant program to 300 and $60 million for fiscal year 23. similarly, i was very pleased to see an increase of $10 million in the fy 23 request from the fy 22 enacted levels for both the assistance to firefighters grant program, and the staffing for adequate fire emergency response, the grant programs. as a wife of a firefighter i know how important and necessary these grants are. not only for our professional and career departments, but for our nearly 30,000 volunteer fire departments across the united states. sometimes i feel like they're a little bit of the red headed stepchild, they don't get near enough attention, today i'm going to be talking about their needs as well. how fema can better serve our
volunteer departments. the fy 23 budget also includes 312 million for education, training, and exercises, including 8 million for fema's emergency management institute. to expand satellite partnerships, develop leadership programs, and modernize virtual technology systems among other items. it is important that through mi and fema's other educational facilities, that we ensure resources and training remain accessible to communities across the country, including our rural communities. i look forward to hearing more from the administrator on emma's request to an additional lives that seek to improve the valuable training for our emergency responders. additionally, will not explicitly laid on the budget, i am encouraged to learn a fema's recently released building code strategy which seeks to organize and prioritize the fema's activities to advance the adoption and enforcement of hazard resistant building codes
and standards for fema programs. as we learn from the university of florida professor, dr. david, go gators, who submitted written testimony for a last subcommittee hearing, are better building construction can narrow the width of the most catastrophic destruction so that homes, will possibly experiencing damage, can remain habitable immediately following a disaster. not only does better building construction immensely benefit the disaster survivor, there is potential for significant saving costs, or cost savings. while much of fema's fy 23 budget seems fairly straightforward, i still have major concerns regarding your emergency food and shelter program. the 23 request includes $24 million to provide shelter and other services to families and individuals in countering the department of homeland security. although 24 million is less than the hundred and 50 million enacted for fiscal year 2022, it is not an insignificant number.
at a time when americans are having to make the choice between gas or groceries, and those on fixed incomes are seeing their rents skyrocket, i have to ask why so much of american tax dollars are going to house illegal immigrants. i would also like this time to mention my concerns with fema's funeral assistance program. during a full committee hearing last year, i asked you, administrator criswell, if there are enough safeguards in place to ensure that fraud throughout the program would not be rampant. during that hearing, you assured me that fema was taking the necessary precautions, however both the dhs -- and the g.a.o. recently released reports detailing instances of fraud within the program, that of course has led to abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars. given that this program has paid out over 2.5 billion, with a b, i look forward to hearing more on the program today and the steps that you and fema are taking to ensure that these issues are corrected. again, i want to thank you,
administrator criswell, for appearing before us today. i'm eager to learn a fema's priorities for the year, and how this budget requests supports our goals. i know that we have sparred a bit over these last 16 months over various issues, i want to assure you and my colleagues, and americans, that we are here and we have to ask the tough questions. conduct the actual oversight if we're gonna be effective in fema's mission. as always, thank you to our fema workforce, our first responders, arm urgency manners and -- at every level of government. your ability to adapt to ever-changing threats and vulnerabilities ensures that our nations continued ability to prevent, prepare, and mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards we faced daily. with that, madam chairwoman. i yield back. >> i want to thank the ranking member for her opening statement. you know, as i think about the safety and security of the people that we represent, i don't believe there are any tough questions that we are not
prepared for. or laser focused on providing the necessary services. so, thank you for your opening statement. members are reminded that the committee will operate according to the guidelines laid out by the chairman and ranking member in their february 3rd, 2021, colloquy, regarding remote procedures. without objections, members not on the subcommittee shall be permitted to sit and question the witnesses. i welcome our witness, deanne criswell. the administrator for the federal emergency management agency. miss chris well is the 12th administrative of the federal emergency management agency and is the first senate confirmed woman to lead the agency. prior to her appointment, administrator criswell was the commissioner for the new york emergency management
department. she coordinated emergency planning, and response, for all emergencies, including covid 19. previously, administrator criswell worked for fema as a federal coordinating officer where she was the primary federal representative responsible for leading the agency's response during declared disasters. without objection, the witnesses full statement will be inserted in the record. i now ask administrator criswell to summarize her statement for five minutes. good morning. >> good morning, chairwoman, ranking member cammack, members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to talk about our fiscal year 2023 budget request. as you have mentioned in your statements, the field of emergency management is at a pivotal moment in its history. our operating environment has.
ten years ago we managed a average of 108 disasters a year. today, as of june 10th we are managing 348. this includes the ongoing response to the covid-19 pandemic. the changing climate is the biggest crisis facing our nation. it makes natural disasters more frequent and more destructive. this is compounding the impacts of disasters for underserved communities, our budget request ensures that the agencies continue to meet these challenges and help people before, during, and after disasters. fema aligned its budget request to support the three goals in our strategic plan. first as an agency we must instill equity as a foundation of emergency management. we must recognize that disasters affect individuals and communities differently. our strategic plan focuses our entire agency in putting people
first and reducing barriers to our progress. we have already made important changes on how we can provide assistance. for instance, some homeowners had difficulty proving that they owned their homes, and if their property had been handed down through the generations. we expanded the types of documentation we can accept including receipts for major repairs, or improvements court documents, public officials letters and even applicant self certification for mobile homes and travel trailers as a last resort. in addition we changed the way that we calculate the front threshold for property losses to qualify for our direct housing program. this resulted in more than 2700 families receiving assistance who had not been considered for direct housing in the past. this means over 2700 families with a roof over their head, a bed to sleep, in and a stove to cook with. we also know the more our workforce resembles the nation we serve, the better we will
serve it. we are adapting our recruiting efforts to reach individuals from under represented communities by partnering with organizations like historically black colleges and universities, and other minorities serving institutions. second, we must lead the whole community to climate resilience. fema is not just a response and recovery agency. one of my highest priorities is hazard mitigation. congress is investment in hazard mitigation has been strong. we have seen it most recently through the appropriation of 6.8 billion dollars in mitigation funds to fema in the infrastructure investment and jobs act of 2021. including funding to establish revolving loan funds under the storm act. the budget request includes 3.4 billion for further investments, including the building resilient infrastructure and communities program, our hazard mitigation grant program, flood maps, and the federal flood
risk management standard. we think innovatively and shift our projects to those with community wide impacts. and we must eliminate the barriers underserved communities face when seeking hazard mitigation existence. third, we must promote and sustain a ready fema and a prepared nation. the increased frequency, severity, and complexity of disasters has heightened demands on fema's workforce, and on the broader emergency management community. fema's request includes 19.7 billion dollars for the disaster relief fund to address current and future disasters. to reach this number fema worked shoulder to shoulder with disaster impact in states and localities, to understand their recovery needs from ongoing catastrophic disasters. in addition to evaluating the historical cost average for non catastrophic disasters. the allocation of funds and a reserve to ensure fema maintains the authority to fund
initial response operations for new significant events. while natural's astors are at the forefront of our discussions today we cannot overlook our threats facing our nation, which fema has also charged and been charged with helping to mitigate. like natural disasters, carrots attacks can occur at anytime, anywhere. we saw this earlier this year during a hostage standoff at the congregation synagogue in, texas. i visited this synagogue and spoke to the rabbi following the attack and he relayed to me, as you mentioned, chairwoman, the importance of the nonprofit security grant program and how it helps to save lives. we are requesting 300 and $60 million for this program to continue this effort. the unrelenting pace of a year-round disaster cycle and crises places great demands on our fema workforce. we must look out for the fiscal, the emotional, and the mental
health of our workforce. their adaptability, their dedication, and willingness to do the hard work is extraordinary. and i believe that the presidents budget request will enable them to continue to do their incredible work. thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i look forward to your questions. >> i want to think administrative diana chris well for your testimony. i will remind each member that each he or she will have five minutes to question the witness. i will now recognize myself for questions. administrator, no one knows better than you here today that two weeks ago marked the beginning of hurricane season. you also pointed out a decade ago we had roughly 108 disasters, now we are looking at 348, roughly. things have definitely changed and increased.
when we think about the challenges that they now face, is the fema workforce prepared for what is predicted to be an above average hurricane season? >> chairwoman, i do believe that our workforce is prepared. we have one of the most dedicated workforces that i think you can find anywhere in the federal government. they are committed to our mission of helping people before, during, and after disasters. while we have seen the increase in the number of disasters our team continues to look at ways that we can staff these events and not have an added strain on our members. we are taking a look, right now, i taking a step back now that we have more of this year-long operational tempo instead of the peak that we have traditionally seen during hurricane season. what does the future staffing model need to look like? we are doing a deep dive into that analysis so we can better
plan and appropriate our staff for a yearlong response as we continue to go forward. >> one of the top issues that we are dealing with, certainly here in the u.s. and around the world centers around supply chain shortages. how are you working with local and local government, and the private sector to employ supply chain mitigation efforts in advance of disaster striking? >> we are very concerned, as the rest of americans are, on the impact that the supply chain is having across the nation. we have built a stockpile of our response requirements at our distribution centers across the nation. i feel confident that the stockpile of equipment and supplies that we have will meet the needs for any disaster response that we have going into this hurricane season. the original administrators, they're the belly button working with the state and local emergency managers to understand the gaps. it is through those ongoing
conversations that our regional administrators have a better understanding of where their needs might be. we can be better prepared to support them if we need to come in and help after a disaster. >> have you been able to coordinate with the private sector? >> we have a private sector office at fema that works continuously across the different industries to better understand where their wrath and what their needs are going to be. we have also initiated a analysis of what the potential supply chain impacts will be for this hurricane season, through one of our contracts. we expect the results of that sometime in the next few weeks. >> thank you, as a former law enforcement professional i have already indicated the importance of grant programs like this. and how beneficial they are to local and state government in terms of preparing for threats of any kind. i was certainly disappointed to hear about the cut in funding for this particular for graham, knowing that law enforcement is,
as you well know, on the front line. can you talk about, based on your experience, how you believe local jurisdictions will be impacted by the reduced funding? >> there is no doubt that the her homeland security sweep a programs that we have has increased the capacity for local jurisdictions across the country. whether it is our -- programs or our nonprofit security grant programs. as we have seen the capacity and primarily our -- program and our homeland security program increase the capabilities across the nation, we also recognize that there is a need to increase capacity in other areas. that is one of the reasons we have asked for the increase and our nonprofit security grant program. to get specifically to your question i would say, one of the biggest things that we have been asking our local jurisdictions to spend their money on is cyber preparedness.
we have an additional grant program that will be coming out as we partner with cisa focused specifically on cyber preparedness. we will no longer require a local jurisdictions to have a mandatory spend on cyber, because they will have this additional program. they can use that funding for their other capacity related needs. >> thank you, administrator today criswell i now recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, chairwoman demings, thank you again administrator criswell. before we get into questions i know you and i, as well as our respective teams have chatted at length about outstanding project worksheets from previous storms and events. i would like to submit for the record a list of outstanding project worksheets from various congressional offices. for the record, i would also like to get your commitment to
responding with a status. >> without objection. >> within 30 days. >> you have my commitment to respond within 30 days. >> thank you so much. >> i alerted to my concerns in my opening statement about this administration's prioritization of illegals at the border of american citizens, particularly as we are facing record inflation. in fy 21 there were 1.7 million illegals encountered at the southwest border. fema actually spent 100 and $50 million in response to this crisis using 150 million for housing and food. now fast forward to april of this year, 2022. there were 234,000 migrant encounters along the southwest border, which is the highest number of monthly encounters in the last two decades. this year's budget requests, fiscal year 23, includes $24 million for feel as emergency food and shelter program for the purpose of providing shelter and other services to families and individuals
encountered by the dhs at the southwest florida. the presidents fy 23 budget request states that, quote, communities are providing food, shelter, transportation, covid-19 testing, and care associated with recommended quarantining and isolation of this population. and incurring the cost of this relief. the use of hotels and non congregate space remains as a prevalent solution and will remain for the foreseeable future, even if covid-19 concerns decrease. i find very troubling that in the budget request specifically mentions increased cost associated with covid-19 precautions, yet there is still consideration from the administration to lift title 42. which, of course, as we now, is a cdc directive. do you anticipate additional migrant encounters along the southwest border and if so, will fema be requesting additional funds through the emergency food and shelter program to address the crisis at the border? >> ranking member, the
emergency food and shelter program has been a great tool to support the humanitarian needs at the border. it is a program that is funded by fema run through a board of directors, of nonprofit organizations. the things that you mentioned such as transportation, shelter, and food, are eligible expenses by these nonprofit agencies to be able to fund the needs that they are encountering. i do not know what the potential increase in the number of border encounters is going to be as i am not an immigration agency. but, we work closely with the secretary and his staff as we monitor what the border is leading. and, if we need to make a request we would certainly consult with the secretary on other options. >> my apologies for interrupting, but the secretary the agency has stated that title 42 being lifted would result in 18,000 encounters a day. is fema prepared to handle that volume with a request of $24
million? >> fema's role as it relates to the border is a coordinating role. we have staff that are assigned to the southern border coordination center located at -- headquarters. our role will continue to be a coordinating role and will continue to bribe ride funding to the nonprofit agencies through the emergency food and shelter program. >> considering that the emergency footballer program has a board that administers these funds, it is comprised of several charities that themselves receive the funds. >> how do we ensure accountability and what oversight role is of this board that is dueling out millions and millions of dollars on taxpayer funds? >> that is a great question, congresswoman. we have a couple of mechanisms in place to ensure that the funding is being spent appropriately. first there are local boards for the charities that look at every expenditure to make sure it is a valid expenditure. then our national ward also looks at all of the
expenditures to make sure that we are doing authorized expenditures. and then they conduct through fema, and one of our contractors, an annual audit of the program to ensure that we are using the funding the way it was intended >> would you agree that since fema is administering the program at the border that the border is in fact, a crisis. >> i would say that the work we are doing to help coordinate the migrant crossings is in support of our partners at cbp and ice. >> i am out of time before the record i have a list of questions that i will submit if the chairwoman would be so kind and i would appreciate a timely response. >> without objection, the gentleman's time has expired. this time the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas, miss jackson-lee 45 minutes.
miss jackson-lee, can you hear us now? >> yes i can. >> okay, great, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you so very much. thank you madam chair and ranking member for this very important hearing and your leadership. this is an area that i have been engaged in violence s.a.t. coming from a hurricane country. and i have been a veteran of any number of hurricanes of notoriety. it is well-known in america from katrina to a storm called storm alicia that obliterated a texas medical center. hurricane ike that drove us to the level of knowing that we needed a cultural spine. and, of course, hurricane harvey that magnified the disaster of what can happen to people with loss of life and property.
i want to first thank the administrator for the continued service of her team. and the work of region six that i have worked with over the many years. to emphasize that this organization in 1979 has not gotten the importance of the focus. we thank president biden and the administration for recognizing the increased budget for fema. and so i want to focus on some of the issues. to the chairwoman, i particularly want to focus on the elements of the act. and, if this is law. but it poses a great hindrance when the impacted areas of a state have to be totally dependent on a governors recognition that an area should be declared a disaster. administrator, what is the
timeframe at which you can stand your operation from the moment of a area being called a national disaster? >> congresswoman jackson-lee, thank you for the question. our role has really been over the last several years to lean forward as we have these events. as you and texas, as we are seeing in the gulf coast states along the east coast. when we know there is a hurricane coming we are going to deploy resources ahead of time so they can be prepositioned to support the state and local jurisdictions when it is safe to do so. when there is a presidential disaster declaration that means we are already in place to go in and start providing assistance. we will also be able to provide assistance under our surge fun before we get the final paperwork if needed. we have also been working last year with our governors to encourage them to ask for
pre-landfall disaster declarations. if usda hurricane coming we want you to ask for this pretty landfall emergency declaration so we can start moving those resources and employing them ahead of time. something we are encouraging governors to do as we can see these events approaching them. we do not have a hesitation and we can support immediately. >> you have to wait for the declaration, is that correct? >> we can deploy raise our's into the area. we can use our surge fund to employs an resources before a declaration. >> the issue is that the process of assessing the declaration by the governor sometimes holds up local communities. i just want to put that on the record. i believe the act should be modified to allowed local communities that are devastated. particularly large urban and rural areas to activate the resources that fema has. lightly move quickly to the
idea of staffing and i heard you indicate your faith in your staff. i certainly have confidence in them but what are the real needs of fema? is there a move or should there be a move to ensure a more permanent staff be able to assist in having staff ready for these disasters? they seem to be a year-round. not necessarily hurricanes but other forms of natural disasters. >> i would say the one thing that is going to make, a real difference in our ability to staff disasters right now is a bill that is being looked at in the senate and in congress. i think, chairwoman, you have been a sponsor of this building. that is the crew acts. that is going to give our reserve force which is the heartbeat of what we do for disasters. it is the majority of our staff that surgeon when our staff need to support local communities. what this act will do is give them reemployment protection to
transform the way that we can recruit our reserve workforce, bring in special teams to come in and support those jurisdictions. even give us the opportunities to have more reserves right in the local community. >> i will submit my other questions for the record. i appreciate the administrator and i want to find out about the decrease in the state security home land grant program. i would like to ensure those funds get reinstated. thank you administrative where your service, thank you to the fema team and thank you madam chair for yielding. >> gentleman's time has expired. they chair now recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. higgins, for five minutes. >> i thank you, madam chair, and i think administrator criswell for being with us today. ensuring a sustainable and effective fema budget is critical for the nation. i appreciate the administrator making time today to visit with the subcommittee.
i am also appreciative of the open lines of communication with the administrator and her office. i am thankful for her candor and her willingness to help. we have spoken on many occasions and the administrator and her staff have never failed to rise to the challenges that we face together. recovery after a disaster is far from a straightforward process. as a congressman that representing a region that is quite accustomed to the impacts of powerful hurricanes, i have survived many in the course of my life. two years ago was a particularly brutal, devastating storm season for south louisiana. i can personally attest to the frustration that many of my constituents face after a disaster. i must say, for the record, madam chair that i am off lifted by the level of
commitment that my office has received both officially and through direct communications from administrator criswell and her office. if we intend to ensure that recovery efforts are resilient and americas treasure is wisely spent, then timely communication and simplifying the necessary documents and procedures between fema and the state and local agencies is imperative. we must streamline the process. that is why i'm thankful to see fema request 51.1 million for a grant manage, modernization practices at the agency. and, 19.7 billion for the disaster relief fund. these investments could potentially better serve the communities across the country one is astern shrieks. administrator chris well, regarding the modernization endeavor would you share with us a little bit how that would
work? how would that better serve communities attempting to recover from a disaster? >> congressman handguns, we are so reliant right now on our i.t. infrastructure in order to better support communities after disaster. it has been an amazing resource as we continue to work to improve the way we are delivering services that we can actually get funding out into the hands of survivors so much quicker. that includes our grant modernization process as well, when we are talking about after disaster we have made a lot of improvements but we also need to make sure that the access to the work that we do before a disaster through our grant programs is also easier for our customers to be able to navigate. the funding we are only going to put into modernize our grant modernization program is building on what we have already started with our brick programs.
the building resilient infrastructure and community and other hazard mitigation programs. that into our recovery grant programs so that we can better use the data that our customers are giving us an instance. so we do not get to continue asking over and over. as we continue this modernization it will just continue to remove the resources so that -- >> that would be our shared intention to simplify and streamline the process. i would like to thank you again to take time last week to discuss the issues facing a couple of my parishes, calc a shoe and cameron parish school boards as well as the lake charles housing authority. my office will continue to work closely with you and your staff. i have received your pledge
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