Amid Hurricane Michael Response, Senate Confirms FEMA Official with McCaskill’s Support

Senator has supported all 13 of President Trump’s nominees for the Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined the Senate in confirming the President’s pick for a key role at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Peter T. Gaynor was confirmed Thursday as Deputy Administrator of the agency. Since President Trump assumed office, McCaskill has voted to confirm every Department of Homeland Security nominee including three senior FEMA officials.

“We need all hands on deck amid another devastating hurricane season, so Mr. Gaynor’s confirmation could not have come at a more crucial time,” McCaskill said. “I stand ready to continue working with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration to ensure that our emergency preparedness and response efforts keep Americans out of harm’s way.”

Now that he has been confirmed by the Senate, Gaynor will serve as second-in-command at FEMA and will support Administrator Brock Long in managing the agency’s various disaster assistance programs. He joins FEMA amid the ongoing response to Hurricanes Michael and Florence in the southeastern United States and as communities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands continue to recovery from an unprecedented hurricane season in 2017.

Throughout her time in the Senate, McCaskill has fought for Missouri families affected by disasters. This summer, McCaskill launched a drought resource page to aid Missouri’s farmers and ranchers affected by the most intense drought conditions in the state since 2012. She also called for answers from FEMA following reports that Lake of the Ozarks residents living outside an established flood zone received notices instructing them to buy flood insurance. And McCaskill continues to work to get federal assistance for disaster-stricken communities throughout the state, including communities affected by historic spring 2017 flooding and the 2011 Joplin tornado, the deadliest tornado to strike the United States in over 60 years.

As the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCaskill has also worked to hold FEMA accountable for its disaster response efforts more broadly. In August, McCaskill called out the agency for its use of noncompetitive contracts in the wake of the destructive 2017 hurricane season. In April, McCaskill released a bombshell report that revealed significant failures by FEMA in its contracting process for emergency tarps and sheeting during last year’s hurricane season, including insufficient use of prepositioned contracts. The Senator also found in February that bid documents for a cancelled $156 million contract that was supposed to provide 30 million meals to Puerto Rico contained multiple misrepresentations, including apparent extensive plagiarism.