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Disaster aid plan, sponsored by DeFazio, passes House

Andy Nelson
Register Guard/ Pool
The Holiday Farm farm carved a path of destruction in DeFazio's district in Sept. 2020.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, that’s meant to help communities prepare for natural disasters passed the U.S. House Tuesday.

It’s called the“Resilient America Act” and it would boost funding for disaster mitigation programs run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It would also create a pilot program to help homeowners pay for improvements that would make their houses more resistant to wildfires.

DeFazio, whose district was ravaged by fires in September of 2020, said that part of the measure hits close to home.

“I wish that this bill and the mitigation investments it authorizes could have been enacted prior to the 2020 fires," he said. "It may have saved some of my constituents from the trauma of losing their home. I am confident that empowering individuals through this program will make families and their homes more resilient, and in the end, save taxpayers money."

The measure passed the House with broad bipartisan support.

"When you can spend dollars up front mitigating...it just saves a lot of extra pain and suffering," said Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a Republican whose northern California district has also been struck by devastating wildfires in recent years.

All five members of Oregon’s House delegation voted in favor of the bill, which now heads to the U.S. Senate.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”