[StBernard] Bipartisan Coalition of Nearly 60 Members of Congress Introduce legislation to Address Flood Insurance Rate Increases

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Oct 29 19:52:22 EDT 2013

October 29, 2013

Bipartisan Coalition of Nearly 60 Members of Congress Introduce legislation
to Address Flood Insurance Rate Increases

WASHINGTON, DC – On the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a broad,
bipartisan coalition of 57 Members of the House of Representatives have
introduced a legislative solution to fix the National Flood Insurance
Program (NFIP) and ensure changes are implemented affordably.

The legislation, led by Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Michael Grimm
(R-NY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA), calls for a four-year delay to the
program, requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to complete
an affordability study and propose a framework that addresses affordability
issues. A companion measure has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by
Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Specifically, the legislation will accomplish the following:

· Imposes a delay likely to total four years for the most vulnerable
properties, by delaying implementation of rate increases until two years
after FEMA completes an affordability study, which was mandated in
Biggert-Waters but not undertaken. FEMA has estimated it will take 2 years
to complete the affordability study. It would then take up to an additional
2 years for FEMA to submit an affordability framework to Congress and for
Congress to review the framework. This means rate increases would be delayed
for 4 years in total. The delay applies to: primary, non-repetitive loss
residences that are currently grandfathered; all properties sold after July
6, 2012; and all properties that purchased a new policy after July 6, 2012.

· Requires FEMA to propose an affordability framework that addresses
the identified affordability issues within 18 months after the completion of
the study and provides 6 months for Congressional review.

* Allows FEMA to utilize National Flood Insurance Funds to reimburse
policyholders who successfully appeal a map determination.
* Eliminates the 50 percent cap on state and local contributions to
levee construction and reconstruction.
* Protects the so-called “basement exception,” which allows the lowest
proofed opening in a home to be used for determining flood insurance rates.

* Establishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map Advocate within FEMA to
answer current and prospective policyholder questions about the flood
mapping process.
* Requires FEMA to certify that the agency has fully adopted a
modernized risk-based approach to analyzing flood risk.

Original Cosponsors of the legislation include: Representatives Michael
Grimm (R-NY); Maxine Waters (D-CA); Cedric Richmond (D-LA); Pete Olson
(R-TX); Steven Palazzo (R-MS); Patrick Murphy (D-FL); Bill Cassidy (R-LA);
Doris Matsui (D-CA); Kevin Cramer (R-ND); William Keating (D-MA); Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL);Corrine Brown (D-FL); Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX); Gregory
Meeks (D-NY); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Richard Nugent
(R-FL); Bobby Scott (D-VA); Jim Langevin (D-RI); Joseph Crowley (D-NY); Gwen
Moore (D-WI); Glenn Thompson (R-PA); Walter Jones (R- NC); Peter Welch (D-
VT); William Enyart (D- IL); Frank LoBiondo (R- NJ); Stephen Lynch (D-MA);
John Carney (D-DE); John Culberson (R-TX); Kathy Castor (D-FL); Joe Garcia
(D-FL); Lois Frankel (D-FL); Nydia Velazquez (D-NY); Jan Schakowsky (D-IL);
Peter King (R-NY); Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ); Carolyn Maloney (D-NY);
Frederica Wilson (D-FL); Filemon Vela; (D- TX); Rodney Davis (R-IL); John
Tierney (D-MA); Ed Perlmutter (D – CO); Keith Ellison (D-MN); Ted Deutch
(D-FL); Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY); Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL); Jerry McNerney
(D-CA); Charles Boustany (R-LA); William Lacy Clay (D-MO); Emanuel Cleaver,
II (D-MO); Steve Scalise (R –LA); Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); John Garamendi
(D-CA); Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Vern Buchanan (R-FL); Robert Andrews
(D-NJ) ; Niki Tsongas (D-MA); Chellie Pingree (D-MA) and Renee Ellmers

“Homeowners across the nation have been hit with skyrocketing flood
insurance rates, which they simply cannot afford,” said. Rep. Michael Grimm.
“On Staten Island, this is an unbearable blow that further victimizes those
who are still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy. I am proud to be
part of bipartisan, bicameral solution to delay the rate hikes, while
improving the Biggert-Waters Act in ways that protect homeowners from
financial burdens and maintain the solvency of the National Flood Insurance

“The Biggert-Waters legislation was designed to address a $24 billion
deficit and ensure millions of American homeowners could continue to
purchase flood insurance. But FEMA’s poor implementation, inaccurate mapping
and incomplete data has led to unreasonable and unimaginable increases in
premiums. From the moment I learned of the unintended consequences of the
Biggert-Waters legislation, I have made clear that I would lead the effort
to resolve the problems that have resulted,” said Congresswoman Maxine
Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee. “Today we
have reached bipartisan, bicameral agreement on the best way to repair the
National Flood Insurance Program. This legislation would ensure FEMA
undertakes program changes in a way that will not cause harm, by delaying
implementation until it provides Congress the facts on how rate increases
will affect homeowners. It will also give us the information we need to go
through the program piece-by-piece and fix any outstanding affordability

“Today, I join my House and Senate colleagues to continue the fight to make
flood insurance affordable. We cannot leave our neighbors, families and
friends in our respective states to grapple with this burden alone,”
Congressman Cedric Richmond said. “Flood insurance increases have sent
shockwaves up and down the coastal regions and through the heartland of our
country. I’m a proud that there is now legislation in both houses of
Congress that provides a sustainable, long-term solution that will allow
people to buy and sell homes without penalty. This effort transcends party
affiliation and reaches down to the core of our purpose in Congress, which
is to draft legislation that protects our constituents. For Louisiana’s
communities bearing the brunt of these insurance hikes, especially the River
Parishes, today is a big step toward a solution.”

Grimm-Waters-Richmond Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act - Section
by Section Summary

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