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BPC Launches New Task Force on Disaster Response Reform

Washington, DC—The Bipartisan Policy Center today launched a new task force to examine needed reforms to the provision of federal disaster assistance. The following is a statement from BPC’s president, Jason Grumet:

“The United States has a sophisticated disaster response framework and well-established federal assistance programs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to overwhelm this already strained system with unprecedented new challenges. Just months ahead of what is forecasted to be an above average hurricane season, our nation’s disaster relief infrastructure is being called upon to deliver vital services in every state in the union.

“There is a first-order need to expedite federal assistance to families, small businesses, and local governments to keep Americans employed, housed, and healthy through the worst public health and economic crisis our nation has ever experienced. At the same time, our overtaxed disaster response system must be prepared for the inevitable next emergency. We must learn from past experiences and confront the bureaucratic obstacles that have slowed the provision of essential aid.

“BPC has convened a group of ‘battle-tested’ emergency management experts with diverse expertise from prior roles across the U.S. government. These leaders understand what is needed to fix our disaster response system, for communities to weather this crisis, and for our country to recover.”

This bipartisan task force will:

  • Offer expertise and technical assistance on the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on disaster relief and recovery programs
  • Identify and confront the barriers to providing critical aid to communities in crisis
  • Raise the profile around needed disaster assistance reforms
  • Provide an authoritative knowledge base for informed debate
  • Create an understanding and urgency around needed reforms
  • Develop actionable policy recommendations and advocate for their adoption

Task force members include:

  • Haley Barbour – Founding Partner, BGR Group; former Mississippi Governor
  • Thomas P. Bossert – Chief Strategy Officer, Trinity Cyber; former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor
  • Xavier de Souza Briggs – Distinguished Visiting Professor, New York University; former OMB Associate Director and HUD Policy Adviser
  • Jeffrey Byard – Vice President of Government Relations and Emergency Management, Team Rubicon; former FEMA Associate Administrator
  • Fernando Gil-Enseñat – former Puerto Rico Secretary of Housing
  • Stan Gimont – Senior Advisor for Community Recovery, Hagerty Consulting; former HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary
  • Bryan Koon – Vice President of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, IEM; former Florida Director of Emergency Management
  • Marion Mollegen McFadden – Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Senior Advisor, Resilience, Enterprise Community Partners; former HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary
  • Ben Metcalf – Managing Director, Terner Center, University of California-Berkeley; former Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Pamela Hughes Patenaude – Senior Community Liaison, IEM; former HUD Deputy Secretary
  • Neal Rackleff – Senior Vice President, Tetra Tech; former HUD Assistant Secretary
  • James Rubin – North America CEO, Meridiam; former Director, New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery

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