Congressman Sires recently introduced the Homeowners and Taxpayers Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 1101) to create a national catastrophe fund that would control federal spending and save taxpayers money.
"This bill changes how we pay for natural catastrophes from an after-the-fact emergency appropriation system to a planned, controlled approach," expressed Congressman Sires. "With the recent events of Superstorm Sandy my state and my region in particular know the devastation these large-scale natural catastrophes bring to our citizens."
Specifically, this legislation creates a public-private partnership including a privately funded national catastrophe fund designed to respond to large-scale natural catastrophes. It improves on a previous proposal that passed the House several years ago with strong bi-partisan support from Members from more than 30 states. It would require pre-funding--exclusively private sector financing--for catastrophe losses to construct a backstop of accessible funds for when such devastating events occur. As a result, this legislation would drive down the cost of insuring all Americans, including those who live in areas with major catastrophe risk and encourage many more homeowners to be covered.
In addition, the reserve fund created through H.R. 1101 would provide advanced funding to enable local public safety and emergency management organizations to enhance protection, improve planning, and mitigate the damage from natural catastrophes by enhancing building codes, land use planning, first responder training, equipment upgrades, and general consumer education.
"There is a growing consensus in all areas of our nation that action needs to be taken now to address the weaknesses in our methods of planning for and responding to natural catastrophes. It is clear that we need a better way to provide relief funding without burdening taxpayers or stretching the federal budget," stated Congressman Sires.