Feb 13 2018
This op-ed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 13, 2018.
Your editorial “The Swampland Republicans” (Jan. 17) depicts me and other Louisiana delegation members as obstructionists to making the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) more financially secure.
No one is more concerned about the economic health of the NFIP than I am. That’s why I gathered bipartisan support and co-authored the leading Senate bill that would cure many of the program’s ills. Second, I take offense at Louisiana’s depiction as a state populated with repeat flood offenders grazing on a trough of federal handouts.
The NFIP is a federal program in which taxpayers insure their greatest asset by paying premiums. Homeowners pay their hard-earned money into the program. They have every right to file a claim when they suffer the devastating misfortune of a flood.
It is true that the NFIP is in debt. Do you know why? Her name is Mother Nature. Natural disasters caused billions of dollars in debt for the program. These were unprecedented events, much like the recent mudslides in California and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
We support common-sense NFIP reforms. We need better flood maps, low-interest loans that encourage property elevations and a ceiling on commissions to private insurance companies that sell flood-insurance policies but take on absolutely zero risk.
Respectfully, what we don’t need is anyone blaming us for natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina gave us a glimpse of hell, and it was the stuff of nightmares. However, we kept fishing, shrimping and navigating the Mississippi River as our ancestors did. We kept working to end this country’s reliance on foreign oil. And we kept paying our flood-insurance premiums.