Landrieu Amendment Will Stop Flood Insurance Increases
Spoke out about increases to NFIP policies months ago, called on FEMA for delay
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today filed an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that will stop premium rate increases for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducts an affordability study and there is adequate time to act on the results. In March, Sen. Landrieu sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate calling for such a delay, and in July of last year requested he establish a plan to help residents deal with the increased costs. Sen. Landrieu is now fighting for a legislative fix to prevent middle class Louisianians from potentially facing steep rate increases.
"I have been warning about these increases for some time. We don't have time to wait - we need to stop these rate increases now," Sen. Landrieu said. "Families and businesses in Louisiana are already paying exorbitant rates for flood insurance and some could see those rates go up dramatically under these proposals. My amendment will stop these increases until FEMA conducts an affordability study and Congress can act on the results. I agree that the National Flood Insurance Program needs to be self-sustaining, but this is not the right way."
The rate increases come as part of the flood insurance reauthorization that Congress passed last summer. At the time, Sen. Landrieu expressed her concerns about the affordability of flood insurance for Louisiana's middle class families. Unfortunately, no amendments were allowed during the debate, including one authored by Sen. Landrieu that would have created a pilot program to provide means-tested assistance to working and middle class individuals to help purchase flood insurance. Sen. Landrieu's amendment would have helped many Louisiana homeowners now facing possible premium increases. Had the Biggert-Waters Act been brought for an up-or-down vote, Sen. Landrieu would have voted against it, as she stated on the Senate floor. Instead, it was part of the transportation bill, which also included Sen. Landrieu's RESTORE Act.
Shortly after the legislation was signed into law in July 2012, Sens. Landrieu and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., sent a letter to FEMA regarding their concerns, writing: "It is troubling that many families who continue to suffer from flooding of their homes will now be forced to pay more for flood insurance even though many of them may not be able to afford to do so. Therefore, we respectfully request that you establish a plan to help residents cope with increase costs as a result of the law."
In March, Sen. Landrieu chaired a Small Business Committee roundtable on access to credit and disaster recovery for small business, which included an extended discussion on the importance of affordable flood insurance for those living along the United States' coasts.
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