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Homeowners' Defense Act of 2007

Location: Washington, DC

HOMEOWNERS' DEFENSE ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - November 08, 2007)


Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.

I want to commend our colleagues on the other side of the aisle from Florida as good advocates for their districts in recognizing that Florida has a serious problem. I think that if everybody had that same confidence that Federal taxpayers weren't going to be involved and that this ultimately was an insurance program that was going to be completely clearly funded, the money was going to come in, it was actuarially sound, and it was going to go out, a lot of us would say ``no harm, no foul, great.''

But a lot of us have a real sense of concern because what we have done is we have looked at Florida, and my conclusion is that part of the problem of Florida and the difficulty that they are facing is because of governmental intervention in the insurance marketplace. It seems to me that the State of Florida came in and began to manipulate the marketplace insofar as other companies then ultimately made decisions, ``look, this is too high maintenance, this is too complicated, we are not able to price this appropriately, we are out of here.''

We heard testimony during the Financial Services Committee from folks who said the depth and breadth of building in Florida, in many cases, is simply inappropriate, building in very risky areas. Now, the bill speaks to some to mitigation, but I think we can do much better. And over the course of this afternoon, in a series of amendments that we intend to offer, some of them on the manager's amendment and some of them specific roll calls that we will be seeking, we are going to try and drive the conversation toward market solutions to this problem.

We are told time and again, I have heard both speakers this afternoon on the other side talk about an opt-in, talk as if this is a voluntary program. Well, I will tell you what; it is not a voluntary program for the Federal taxpayers that I represent. Federal taxpayers that I represent, I believe, are ultimately going to be on the hook for the liabilities and the commitments that are made either explicitly or implicitly through the language of this bill.

I urge a great sense of caution not to get caught up in the emotion of this, but to be clear-eyed and clear-thinking in how we debate this, and ultimately to oppose this bill in its current form.


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