(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today joined nine other Senators including lead sponsors Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to address rate spikes in national flood insurance costs due to the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The bill delays the implementation of rate increases for certain properties until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completes the affordability study and implements correct flood maps. Both are required under Biggert-Waters and neither is complete.
“Without a change, flood insurance is simply going to be unaffordable for middle class families,” Vitter said. “Homeowners will literally have to turn in their keys and in some cases walk away from their homes. In coastal Louisiana, we’re on the tip of the spear and we’re experiencing this first. But this is not just a Louisiana issue – it’s going to affect folks across the country.”
Additional Senate cosponsors include John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Vitter has been demanding that FEMA rescind their flood maps in Southeast Louisiana until their mapping issues are resolved. Currently FEMA doesn't credit non-federal levees when determining flood risk. Click here to read a recent report that includes an interview with Vitter by WWL-TV in New Orleans.
On October 1, 2013, over four million home and business owners in the United States saw their flood insurance skyrocket because of faulty provisions in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. While there is consensus for the long-term reauthorization of the NFIP, serious concerns remain about the sharp rate increases included in Biggert-Waters that could render flood insurance unaffordable and unattainable for millions of people nationwide.