Today, Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS), along with Representatives Cassidy, Grimm, and Richmond, announced passage of an amendment to the FY14 Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would delay scheduled increases to flood insurance rates by blocking the implementation of Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. Palazzo introduced similar legislation earlier this year. Today's amendment passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 281-146 and had the support of the National Association of Realtors, the American Bankers Association, and the National Association of Home Builders.
Palazzo released the following statement: "The passage of this amendment is an enormous victory for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Thousands of people who built back after Hurricane Katrina and those now building back after Hurricane Sandy are facing steep flood insurance rate increases under current law. While we must ensure the flood insurance program remains fiscally solvent, we must do so in a compassionate way that doesn't penalize those who have followed the rules. This amendment would provide time for FEMA to study the affordability of flood insurance program changes, providing much-needed relief for homeowners and businesses across the Gulf Coast."
Rep. Cassidy stated: "This is a win for south Louisiana and the nation. The reforms under the Biggert-Waters Act have created flood insurance rates which could destroy south Louisiana homes. They would also be devastating for coastal communities around the country.
"This amendment will block those rate increases and give us time to carefully modify the Biggert-Waters Act. It is important to have a self-sustaining flood insurance program. However, it must account for the flood protections throughout south Louisiana that make massive flood insurance rates unnecessary. I will lead in making sure that occurs."
Rep. Grimm stated: "There are Staten Islanders who have lost everything in Superstorm Sandy, with years to go before their lives return to normal," "Now they are up against a tremendous flood insurance rate hike that will only victimize them further. By delaying the rate hikes mandated by Section 207 of Biggert-Waters, we can provide a window of respite for many struggling to rebuild, while Congress works toward a solution that eases the burden on homeowners and keeps flood insurance affordable for those who need it most."