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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said Tuesday the federal government needs to consider a mechanism for expediting disaster relief funding to ensure communities impacted by natural disasters can promptly access resources.

Boozman's comments during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing were not the first signs the senator is interested in addressing recovery efforts. He helped introduce legislation in September establishing an office for post-disaster recovery efforts.

"So much of this is just being more efficient and making the process work," said Boozman, of Rogers. "It's difficult to go through the process, and then you wait two years before you actually get any relief."

Congress has historically approved supplemental funding for relief efforts in the wake of disasters, but Tuesday's hearing focused on assisting communities and mitigating the effects of future disasters.

"As survivors navigate the long and arduous process of recovery, they can't afford to wait and get help," said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

Schatz -- chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee within the Senate Appropriations Committee -- tied the hearing to recovery efforts following the deadly Maui wildfires in August. The senator noted rebuilding and recovery work for thousands of residents is "years away as debris removal is extensive and complex."

"Every community devastated by a disaster deserves help," he added. "Help that is timely, predictable, consistent and proportional to the needs of the recovery."

Boozman referenced Arkansas' history of tornadoes and frustration from local and state leaders concerning recovery campaigns.

"We hear so much about all the rancor that's going on up here. This is not a Democrat or Republican thing," Boozman said. "This is just trying to figure out how to help people."

Boozman and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., introduced the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act in September; the legislation would establish such an entity within the Commerce Department for directing recovery efforts and deploying resources to communities impacted by disasters.

Ran Reinhard, director of operations with the South Carolina Office of Resilience, compared the existence of such an office to "one-stop shopping." He contended an entity would streamline recovery efforts for government agencies while easing recovery outreach for people impacted by disasters.

"It would really be nice to go to one place and be able to meet all your needs and work all the programs," he said. "Otherwise, when a disaster occurs, you have multiple agencies pouring onto the site, all with the best of intent, but it quickly overwhelms -- especially low- to moderate-income citizens."

Reinhard opted against naming which department is best suited to have such an entity, but voiced support for discussing the creation of the office or a similar body.

"If you can make it more simplistic, that would really help the average citizen to participate in the recovery program," he said.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee received the Boozman-Padilla measure following its introduction. The Arkansan and Californian are committee members.

Click here to read the story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.