Wasserman Schultz Secures Surfside Investigation in Final Continuing Resolution Funding Package

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Washington, September 29, 2021 | comments
“As we still mourn all those we lost, it’s crucial to assess just how widespread these building vulnerability issues may be. In South Florida and across the United States, thousands of condos just like Champlain Towers may face similar structural problems. This NIST investigation can help unlock the scope of those issues and saves thousands more lives by averting similar tragedies. I’m proud my Congressional colleagues saw the urgent need to allow NIST to conduct this in-depth, potentially life-saving investigation.
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Washington D.C. – The final continuing resolution package that funds federal agencies through early December and buys time to avoid a government shutdown, includes $22 million to conduct a Surfside building collapse investigation, a measure that was already approved in the House, and should arrive to President Biden’s desk later this week.

As part of the ongoing federal response into the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, FL, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) in July secured $22 million in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct a technical investigation into the cause of the collapse that claimed nearly 100 lives. From her position on the House Appropriations Committee, Wasserman Schultz included this funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.  Last week, Wasserman Schultz secured the funding in the House Emergency Supplemental attached to the Continuing Resolution (CR), which has now been included in the Senate version of the “clean” CR. 

 

These funds will allow NIST to conduct an unprecedented investigation into the sources of failure, and provide recommendations to rectify shortcomings in existing building standards to prevent future similar disasters. It can also inform future building codes for similar structures. NIST began investigating soon after the tragic collapse. This funding will give NIST resources it needs to continue its full, scientific investigation through the upcoming fiscal year.

 

“As we still mourn all those we lost, it’s crucial to assess just how widespread these building vulnerability issues may be. In South Florida and across the United States, thousands of condos just like Champlain Towers may face similar structural problems,” said Wasserman Schultz, whose district includes Surfside, and roughly 15 miles of coastal Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. “This NIST investigation can help unlock the scope of those issues and saves thousands more lives by averting similar tragedies. I’m proud my Congressional colleagues saw the urgent need to allow NIST to conduct this in-depth, potentially life-saving investigation.”

 

This will be only the fifth NIST investigation conducted under its NCST Act statutory authority. Previously, NIST used the authority to investigate the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the 2003 Station Nightclub Fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, the 2011 Joplin Tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017.

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