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National Flood Insurance Program Further Enhanced Borrowing Authority Act of 2005

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Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM FURTHER ENHANCED BORROWING AUTHORITY ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - November 18, 2005)

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, along with the chairman, I have a sense of deja vu. A couple of years ago we agreed, the chairman and I and members of our committee, to support the efforts of our former colleague from Nebraska, Mr. Bereuter, our current colleague from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer), to reform the flood insurance program. We made substantial progress. We did not get everything we wanted; there was some resistance.

Then came Katrina, and suddenly the point we were making about the need both to compensate people but also to be environmentally and fiscally responsible in what we promised became somewhat relevant. Our committee had a good mark-up earlier this week and passed out a bill, not a perfect bill from any one standpoint, but which would continue the process of reforms along with the money. And then the Senate, as it did last time, showed a certain reluctance to go along with the reforms. They sent us a bill which is simply the additional money.

The additional money is needed and the additional money is to compensate people who have already been flooded, so there is no necessary connection between that and going forward. I, therefore, did not object to the request, and I hope we will vote the money that has been asked to compensate the people already hurt.

But it is also important that we reform the program. I appreciate the commitment which the gentleman from Ohio has freely given the House, that we are both going to work hard to try to bring the reform package up early next year.

So we will acknowledge the importance of getting the money in the hands of the people who need it, and I will be yielding to some of my colleagues from the area; but we do want to note that we will go forward with the money now, but we have not lost our interest in further reforming the program; and we will be back on the floor I hope, and I know the gentleman from Ohio will be working diligently on that in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. OXLEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank my good friend and ranking member, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank), for his support on this. This is critically important for the folks down in the gulf region that they get compensated under their insurance program that they paid premiums into FEMA for. This is an obligation by the Federal Government to make sure that those people are paid. FEMA is out of money as I speak. We need to get this done. I would ask the House's cooperation in this effort.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I do not want to impose on the House's time except we are killing time anyway while you try to figure out what you are going to do with that foolish resolution of yours.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Jefferson), who has been at the center of the effort to deal with this tragedy. I will say as the ranking member on our side on the committee, he has been constantly in touch with us and has advised us and impressed us on the importance of action, and I am very grateful for his willingness to work with us in the midst of all the stress that has accrued to his district.

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman I agree with him this is a lost opportunity, but like the book ``I Lost It At The Movies,'' we lost it at the Senate. So we are doing the best we can.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Taylor), who has worked harder in the aftermath of this than I have ever seen any Member work in trying to deal with the desperate situation imposed on the people he represents.

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, for my remaining 30 seconds, I want to send a message to FEMA.

The gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Melancon) has called to our attention a delay on the part of FEMA in telling people what elevations are required for new construction or replacement construction in the flooded areas. Until they have those elevations, they cannot proceed with the construction, and the gentleman told me we have been told there is a delay of perhaps up to 2 years. That is clearly unacceptable. So had we been able to bring a substitute bill to the floor, we were going to address that issue.

I hope FEMA will listen. I think I speak for both sides. I know the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Baker) agreed with this when we raised it in committee that FEMA will promptly do the elevations necessary so that construction can proceed.

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