Document Type


Publication Title

Harvard Latinx Law Review

Publication Date

Spring 2019



Page Number



congressional investigations, relief efforts, disaster victims, emergency preparedness


Disaster Law | Law


During the 2017 hurricane season, three major storms impacted differ- ent regions of the United States. These storms-Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria-devastated communities in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico within the span of a month. These storms were so destructive that the World Meteorological Organization has retired all three storm names, meaning no future hurricane will ever bear the names Harvey, Irma, or Maria again. In response, according to the Government Accountability Office ("GAO"), "19 federal agencies had entered into contracts and obligated over $5.6 billion on those contracts to support efforts related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria" as of December 31, 2017.

The Constitution states that Congress shall have the authority to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper."' From this mandate, Congress derives its implied powers of investigation, "to consider proposed legislation and also to oversee the administration of existing governmental programs..."

Pursuant to such authority, on October 27, 2017, Ranking Member of the Senate's Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Claire McCaskill (D-MO), invited the committee's chairman to conduct "a bipartisan investigation and consider scheduling a series of ... hearings to lay out the reality of the federal government's response" to the these storms.

Included in

Disaster Law Commons



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