Washington The House approved a bill Thursday that would develop a national program to help reduce property damage and possibly deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms packing high winds.
The legislation calls for spending $67.5 million over three years beginning in 2006 to research and develop construction methods that will make homes and commercial buildings more resistant to high winds. Supporters also hope the bill will lead to new building codes in the same way a national program has led to toughened building codes to reduce earthquake damage.
Four federal agencies would be required to designate money already in their budgets for the program and would not receive new funding for it, said a spokesman for Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, one of the bill's sponsors. The other sponsor was Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kansas.
The agencies would be required to coordinate their research. It also creates a national advisory committee on windstorm damage.
The measure passed 387-26. Twenty-five Republicans and one Democrat, Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania, voted against the bill. The bill required a two-thirds majority to pass.
Neugebauer said in debate Wednesday that the country sustains billions of dollars in damage each year because of windstorms.