CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5244, the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Act, as amended, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5244 was introduced on May 16, 2016 by Rep. Stephen Knight (R-CA) and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the measure reported, as amended, on June 15, 2016 by unanimous consent.
H.R. 5244 creates a national memorial at the site of the Saint Francis Dam collapse in 1928 and sets aside 440 acres for a national monument that will encompass the national memorial. The bill authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the memorial via donation in consultation with the Santa Clarita City Council and the public, and does not authorize taxpayer funds for construction. The Secretary is required to submit to Congress, within 3 years, recommendations regarding the planning, design, and construction of the memorial, and within 4 years a management plan with respect to the monument.
The Saint Francis Dam was one of several large infrastructure projects constructed in the early 20th century to help control the flow of water to southern California. On March 12, 1928, the dam breached, resulting in significant flooding that took more than 400 lives in Los Angeles County, California. According to the Committee, this failure was considered one of the worst civil engineering failures in the 20th century. Beyond the loss of life, thousands of residents lost their homes and experienced significant property damage due to the flooding. Today, the site of the dam collapse and the affected areas are often subject to theft and vandalism.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “I am pleased that my colleagues in the House recognize the importance of honoring the individuals who perished in the St. Francis Dam Disaster. This is something that many in the community would like to see accomplished and I’m proud to be a part of the effort to make it happen”
 See Natural Resources Committee markup memo, June 13, 2016, at 2.
 See Rep. Knights Press Release, “Knight’s St. Francis Dam Memorial Measure Advances to House Floor” June 15, 2016.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 5244 would cost less than $125,000 over the 2017-2021 period. Enacting this legislation could affect direct spending by increasing offsetting receipts from donations and the associated direct spending of those funds to construct a memorial, therefore pay-as-you-go procedures apply. In addition, the suspension text explicitly states that no additional funds are authorized to carry out the requirements identified in the bill and that such requirements will be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.