Temporary Increase in Borrowing Authority for National Flood Insurance Program

Floor Speech

By:  Chris Smith
Date: Jan. 4, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 41. I want to thank leadership for posting it today, and especially thank Chairman Scott Garrett for authoring this critically important legislation, boosting the NFIP's borrowing authority by $9.7 billion, and I'm very proud to be a cosponsor.

Madam Speaker, the devastation unleashed by Sandy is without precedent, and the impacted communities are in dire need of comprehensive assistance. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sheer magnitude of the housing damage and the subsequent housing need.

According to Governor Christie's office, Sandy damaged or destroyed 346,000 housing units. Of that number, some 72,397 were covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, whose owners have submitted claims and are awaiting the insurance payout for comprehensive repairs. Thus far, only 18 percent have received funds pursuant to their claims. Over 80 percent of my constituents are waiting in limbo--an intolerable situation that is making a bad situation worse. Moreover, Madam Speaker, throughout the region there are a total of 115,000 insurance claims related to Sandy; many of them are waiting as well.

This is must-pass legislation. We have an obligation--we have a duty to meet this compelling need and contractual obligation. This legislation takes us in that direction. Again, I want to thank Chairman Garrett for his leadership.

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