Today, Congressman Albio Sires introduced H.R. 6477, the Taxpayer Protection Act. This legislation would create financial mechanisms to ensure that every household can afford insurance and that all families and communities have the means to rebuild and overcome the devastating effects of natural disasters.
"In the past few months, New Jersey and the rest of the country have suffered severe summer weather. Last year, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused damaging flooding hurting our communities and causing millions of dollars in damages," said Congressman Sires. "Often, the government aids communities through supplemental disaster funding after the storms hit. This policy is unpredictable. It negatively impacts our national budget and can waste taxpayer dollars."
Specifically, the bill would establish a federal catastrophe fund where eligible states can purchase reinsurance that provides extensive and affordable protection. H.R. 6477 also provides funding for mitigation and disaster preparedness. Similar legislation has previously been introduced in Congress and has received large bipartisan support. H.R.6477 builds on the success of the previous bills by adding several new provisions to improve its effectiveness. The new legislation ensures that the fund is fully paid for without taxpayer dollars, the bill creates a commission to enhance program oversight, and the bill includes language to support proper land use, among other improvements.
"Our country needs a long term, self-sustaining solution to prepare and recover from these luckily rare, but catastrophic events. We must come together now to create an insurance environment that protects all of us," added Sires.