Legislation that was supposed to delay federal flood insurance rate hikes on Tuesday did not happen. Like so many survival necessities the Tea Party has taken away from the middle class, this proposal fell victim to the government shutdown. The rate increases will take effect next month.
A bipartisan group of senators are trying to stop increases they say will hurt millions of people across the country. The bill that is causing all the problems is the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform bill. According to The News Star, “premiums with the National Flood Insurance Program are set to rise 25 percent each year for four years to make up for deficits caused by massive storms such as Hurricane Katrina and to bring the program more in line with its real costs.” The Senators want to delay the bill’s implementation until next year.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said that “We have our eyes and our hearts on the 5 million Americans that are depending on us, that have flood insurance policies, to find a solution to a very serious problem that they face today — and that is rates that could double, triple and in some instances go up tenfold,’’ It will affect about 500,000 residents in Louisiana.
This all has to do with the impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, a 2012 law enacted to improve the solvency of the federal flood insurance program. It would phase out lower, subsidized rates for older properties in flood zones. At least that is what the sponsors of the bill named after them, thought it was going to do.
According to the Mortgage News Daily, Rep. Maxine Waters (D.-Calif.), co-author with Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, released a statement saying she is “outraged by the increased costs of flood insurance premiums that have resulted from the Biggert-Waters Act. I certainly did not intend for these types of outrageous premiums to occur for any homeowner.”
Last June, the House passed the bill 373-52 and the Senate, passed it 74-19. Co-founder Rep. Waters said the problem is that, “Since the law was enacted, we have seen a slew of confusion in FEMA mapping” and “many families now face increased costs that will make homeownership so expensive that many would be forced from their homes or find it impossible to sell.”
The National Flood Insurance Program, (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, (FEMA). FEMA director Craig Fugate said he is powerless to stop the rate increases. It takes a law to delay the rate hikes.
Without this law the increases will start next month. The bipartisan effort in both houses in Congress, should be praised. Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Miss) told the Hattiesburg American that “he’d been talking to GOP leaders about taking up the rate hikes problem issue in the House.” However, a forum on the issue Tuesday was canceled because of the government shutdown.
So, there it is, the real reason why people will possibly lose their homes: the Tea Party Crazies have shut the government down. When will this Tea-Bagger driven extortion stop?
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.