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At Markup of Flood Bills, Dems Offer Amendments to Keep Flood Insurance Affordable and Accessible

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Washington, DC, June 20, 2017 | comments

On the first day of the of the House Financial Services Committee markup of seven flood insurance bills, Committee Democrats fought for the availability and affordability of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

“Democrats will offer amendments to provide the reauthorization language needed to keep the NFIP’s doors open and keep the real estate market from spiraling out of control,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services. “We will also offer amendments to provide real relief to policyholders struggling with unaffordable premiums. I will also be offering an alternative that closely tracks legislation being worked on by a bipartisan group of Senators. This alternative is a comprehensive reauthorization bill that protects policyholders. My focus is on affordability of these premiums for all of our citizens in this country that need flood insurance.”

The Committee considered two of the seven bills on the first day of the markup: Congressman Lee Zeldin’s bill, H.R. 2868, the “National Flood Insurance Program Policyholder Protection Act,” and Congressman Sean Duffy’s bill, H.R. 2874, the “21st Century Flood Reform Act.” The Duffy bill would restrict flood insurance coverage, increase costs, and open the door to cherry-picking by the private sector. At the markup, Democrats offered a series of amendments to help ensure flood insurance is affordable and accessible, and to help reduce flood risk throughout the nation:

Democratic Amendments to the “National Flood Insurance Program Policyholder Protection Act.”

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) offered an amendment that would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse hardworking communities who undertook projects with the promise of Federal funds that would mitigate against the risk of flooding.

Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) offered an amendment that would lower the $10,000 annual cap on flood insurance premiums to $5,000.

Republicans rejected all Democratic amendments. The bill passed with unanimous support.

Democratic Amendments to the “21st Century Flood Reform Act.”

Reps. Denny Heck (D-WA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Charlie Crist (D-FL) offered an amendment to strike Section 506 of the “21st Century Flood Reform Act,” which would have restricted flood insurance for certain types of properties including those that are newly built. The amendment would also remove harmful language that eliminates grandfathering – a practice that protects responsible policyholders.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) offered an amendment to strike the 3% premium increase in Section 101 of the bill, strike Section 502 of the bill and replace it with language that removes surcharges to policyholders, and strike Section 503 of the bill, which increases reserve fund assessments.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) offered an amendment to establish a pilot program that would provide community-based flood insurance.

Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) offered an amendment that would replace Congressman Duffy’s bill with a comprehensive, six-year, bipartisan flood reauthorization bill that closely tracks legislation introduced by Senators Menendez, Kennedy, Warren, Rubio, Van Hollen, and Cochran.

While the Committee voted to adopt Representative Moore’s amendment, Republicans rejected every other Democratic amendment. The bill narrowly passed, with all Democrats and one Republican opposing.

The Committee will reconvene on Wednesday, June 21 to continue to markup the remaining flood insurance legislation.


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