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The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) is a United States federal law designed to bring an orderly and systemic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens. Congress' intention was to encourage states and localities to develop comprehensive disaster preparedness plans, prepare for better intergovernmental coordination in the face of a disaster, encourage the use of insurance coverage, and provide federal assistance programs for losses due to a disaster. President Underwood used the vague language of declaring a "disaster" in the Stafford Act to appropriate funding for his controversial "America Works" program.

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