U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) joined fellow Florida Representative Joe Garcia (FL-26) in introducing the Helping Owners Mitigate Effectively (HOME) Act of 2014 to delay outrageous flood insurance rates, require FEMA to conduct an affordability study, and create a long-term solution to the issue of unaffordable flood insurance rates by emphasizing the importance of mitigation. (Please find attached a copy of the legislation).
"While the bipartisan omnibus passed by Congress this week provides relief through October for some homeowners facing exorbitant flood insurance rate hikes, as well as including additional funding for FEMA to ensure that redrawn flood maps are accurate and fair so that they do not erroneously hike rates for homeowners in our area, more work still needs to be done to find a permanent solution for all those affected by these rate hikes," said Rep. Murphy. "These were welcome first steps but Congress must build on this momentum and pass comprehensive rate hike relief, which is why I am proud to join with Rep. Garcia in introducing legislation to do just that."
The HOME Act places a five year delay on rate increases across the board and creates long-term solutions to the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) underlying issues by incentivizing mitigation measures. Florida Delegation members Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-22) have also signed on as cosponsors to the HOME Act.
In addition to cosponsoring the HOME Act, Congressman Murphy is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which would delay the implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program and postpone unaffordable rate hikes for four years. He also has been working to address this issue on the local issue. In November, U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy joined Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-21), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), and Lois Frankel (FL-22) in urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to extend the deadline for submitting comments and technical data on the flood maps for Palm Beach County, given that preliminary maps for this area are significantly flawed and would result in negative consequences for local homeowners as well as the local economy.
FEMA has granted this request and will be continuing to accept additional data from the county until February 28, 2014, allowing local officials and scientists to continue contributing data and suggestions for the final flood maps, which need to be accurate in order to protect many homeowners from unaffordable flood insurance rates.
"Because of the huge impact these final flood maps will have on our local economy, real estate market, and mitigation efforts, it is crucial to provide the time necessary to make sure they are accurate and scientifically sound," Rep. Murphy said. "This process must be done right to protect homeowners from facing outrageous flood insurance rate hikes, and I welcome this much-needed extension."
Congressman Murphy is a member of the Financial Services Committee, which has oversight of the National Flood Insurance Program, and the Congressional Home Protection Caucus, which is focused on developing solutions to address the affordability of flood insurance.