Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee and one of the co-authors of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform law released the following statement today after passage of H.R. 41, a $9.7 billion flood insurance portion of the Sandy Disaster Relief Package:
"I am pleased that we could work in a bipartisan fashion to pass H.R. 41 to temporarily increase the borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). I am so proud of the Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who have been advocates fighting to get this bill brought up for a vote and passed, including House Republicans that criticized their own leadership. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners and small business owners are in desperate need of emergency aid in order to rebuild their homes and livelihood. It is unconscionable that this long overdue legislation was delayed and storm victims have been waiting for more than two months to receive assistance. They could not afford to wait any longer.
"Superstorm Sandy is the costliest and deadliest storm to affect our nation since Hurricane Katrina. The storm caused 120 deaths and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes in New York and New Jersey. Thousands of residents of these states are still rebuilding their lives. Due to the huge losses from this storm--with over 140,000 flood insurance claims filed--the National Flood Insurance Program was poised to run out of funds to pay claims next week.
"I have witnessed natural disasters first-hand in my home state of California, and assisted victims along the Gulf Coast impacted by Hurricane Katrina, ensuring that they were compensated and taken care of. As one of the co-authors of the Flood Insurance Reform Act, I am committed to ensuring that the flood insurance program has the resources and reforms that it needs to help our citizens when a storm like Sandy occurs. This legislation fixes that problem by increasing the NFIP's borrowing authority.
"As a result, this bill will begin to assist some of the survivors of this horrible storm to rebuild their lives. Of course, this bill is not the comprehensive relief bill Sandy survivors need but it is a start."