Ranking Member Cuellar Statement at the Federal Emergency Management Agency Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request Hearing

2023-04-18 13:45

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee’s hearing on the fiscal year 2024 budget request for the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

**As prepared for delivery**

Thank you, Chairman Joyce. And good afternoon, Administrator Criswell. It’s nice to see you again. Thank you for coming by my office a few weeks ago to talk about your priorities. I enjoyed our conversation and look forward to working together.

In Texas, we see a variety of natural disasters, including hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornados, and droughts. The frequency and severity of disasters not just in Texas but all over the country are on the rise and increasing in severity. FEMA’s work helps communities affected by these disasters. The disaster relief fund provides the funding necessary to respond to disasters like in Texas and assist with the recovery process, including providing critical resources and supplies. FEMA plays a vital role in helping during our greatest time of need, before, during, and after disasters. For this reason, it’s important that we fully support FEMA’s resourcing needs. 

Today, we will hear from Administrator Criswell about the fiscal year 2024 funding requirements for the Agency and on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for FEMA. I’m interested in learning about what steps FEMA is taking to ensure it is adequately resourced as we head into wildfire and hurricane season. I am particularly concerned about the shortfall in the Disaster Relief Fund and want to learn more about what FEMA is doing to prepare for any difficulties that arise. I’d also like for you to address the needs of your most critical asset – your workforce. Over 20,000 strong, your emergency management professionals are the best in this business, and we need to continue to make strong investments in their development to ensure continued success.

And finally, last year this Committee provided $90 million for Operation Stonegarden. This program is critical to ensuring that border communities have the resources they need to improve border security in their own backyards. I’d like to hear more about how this funding is being distributed and if you’re facing any challenges that we can help with.

Thank you, Administrator Criswell, for being here today, and I look forward to your testimony and answers to our questions.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

118th Congress