Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today voted for the Flood Insurance Reform Priorities Act, legislation which reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2015, delays for five years the effective date for a requirement that homeowners living in newly designated flood-hazard areas have to purchase flood insurance, and phases in a new risk-rate schedule for those areas over the next five years.
"After the devastating floods of 2008, I am pleased that Congress is moving forward on comprehensive flood insurance reform," Hare said. "This ensures my constituents that live along the Mississippi, Illinois, and Rock Rivers two things. First, federal flood insurance will be available to them. Second, any changes in their insurance rates will be phased in fairly and judiciously."
In April, Hare led a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) raising concerns and urging changes to the FEMA flood map modernization process, which determines insurance rates. The legislation passed today by the House of Representatives would help address the concerns raised in that letter.
During consideration of the bill, the House unanimously passed an amendment authored by Hare that would require FEMA to update its flood maps for areas that have had its levee systems improved to eliminate the risk of flooding.
"Insurance by its definition must take into account the actual level of risk posed," Hare said. "Communities that spend money to improve flood protection should be rewarded with lower rates if they are no longer considered hazardous floodplains. Up to date flood maps would make sure that occurs."
Hare has been a champion of raising the levees along the Mississippi River and helping the victims of the 2008 flood get back on their feet, including the village of Gulfport. On Saturday, he will visit Keithsburg, Gladstone, and Milan to discuss this legislation.