H.R. 5825: Multi-State Disaster Relief Act

H.R. 5825

Multi-State Disaster Relief Act

July 27, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 5825 on Monday, July 26, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN).

Bill Summary

H.R. 5825 would update and revise the criteria for evaluating the need for assistance in regard to measuring the severity, magnitude, and impact of a disaster to individuals and households.

Individual Assistance Factors:

In order to provide more objective criteria in regard to evaluating the need for assistance to individuals and households and to increase speed for a declaration of a major disaster, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with representatives of state and local emergency management agencies, shall review, update, and revise through rulemaking the factors considered when measuring the severity, magnitude, and impact of a disaster.


Consideration of a contiguous county:  In reviewing, updating, and revising the factors in measuring the impact of a disaster, the Administrator shall include as a factor whether a contiguous county in an adjacent state has been designated in a major disaster or emergency as a result of the same incident.

The bill requires FEMA Administrator to submit a report to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee within 3 months of the bill’s enactment:

  • Recommending to the President whether a state should receive a major disaster declaration to provide individual assistance. 

  • How assistance is provided to individuals located in a county contiguous to a state that has received a major disaster declaration, after a major disaster declaration has already been issued for the neighboring state. 


The Federal Emergency Management Agency currently provides disaster assistance on a state-by-state basis.  During the event of a disaster, it is upon the Governor to decide whether the incident is beyond the capacity of the state to handle, in which that Governor will make a request to the President to receive a declaration of a major disaster.

When a disaster crosses over state lines, FEMA treats the incidents as two separate cases and requires each state to meet a separate statewide damage threshold in order to be declared as a major disaster declaration; and therefore, receive assistance and funding.


A Congressional Budget Office score for H.R. 5825 was not available as of press time.