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Mr. PASCRELL. I thank the ranking member.
Mr. Chairman, I appeal to you to make this an urgent issue. Urgency, I think, is very critical here. So I rise in opposition to the previous question so that we can consider the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, over 74,000 National Flood Insurance Program claims were submitted in New Jersey from policyholders. To date, the NFIP has paid over $3.5 billion in Sandy claims. It has served as a lifeline to thousands of New Jersey residents whose lives were turned upside down by the storm. The funds paid out through those claims have helped our neighbors rebuild their homes and businesses.
Regardless of what political affiliation or persuasion, we are all affected by this. Estimates indicate that the total cost of Sandy will be between $12 and $15 billion, making Sandy the second-costliest flood event after Hurricane Katrina.
So, it is true that we need to make changes to ensure that NFIP remains solvent. However, the rollout of the 2012 reforms to NFIP have been fraught with issues.
I am hearing from constituents in towns such as Little Ferry and Moonachie, particularly, which were devastated by Sandy. This is destroying property values and disrupting the real estate markets in the communities of New Jersey and across the country. That is why it is so crucial that we revisit flood insurance reform by passing H.R. 3370.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. McGOVERN. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
Mr. PASCRELL. I thank the gentleman.
This legislation will prevent premium rate hikes until FEMA completes the affordability study called for in the original Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform legislation, giving FEMA a chance to implement an affordability framework before implementing new rates. The bill establishes an appeal process for remapping and creates an advocate position within FEMA.
Just last week, a bipartisan majority in the Senate did approve this bill, as you already heard. It is time to bring this vital legislation to the floor.
Again, I appeal to the chairman. This is urgent, not simply because we had two major storms in the last few years, but because Americans all over this country are affected one way or another, if not by a storm off the ocean, a snowstorm or even worse. So I ask you specifically to do what you can to put this in front of us as soon as possible.
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