WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced an amendment that will tackle problems with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), ensure the program’s affordability for middle-class homeowners and invest in cost-saving disaster mitigation and prevention.
“Louisianians are resilient, but they depend on affordable flood insurance to protect and rebuild their homes. FEMA is planning to raise flood insurance rates on Louisianians but refuses to explain how or why. It’s urgent that the Senate adopt this amendment to keep premiums from skyrocketing and to help protect Louisiana communities from future floods,” said Kennedy.
“In order to protect hardworking homeowners and ensure our nation is prepared for future storms, it’s vital that we make these reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. I urge my colleagues to pass this amendment so we can ensure the NFIP is more sustainable and affordable for homeowners and that FEMA has the resources to invest in preventative and mitigation measures,” said Menendez.
The amendment includes the following measures:
- Premium hike cap: Currently, premiums can more than double every four years, but this amendment will protect policyholders from exorbitant premium hikes by capping annual increases at nine percent.
- Robust mitigation investment: Provides $25 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding for states to invest in mitigation and prevention projects.
- NFIP debt interest freeze: Freezes interest payments on NFIP debt and reinvests savings towards mitigation efforts to restore the program to solvency and reduce future borrowing.
- Affordability for low- and middle-income policyholders: Provides a comprehensive means-tested voucher for millions of low- and middle-income homeowners and renters if their flood insurance premium causes their housing costs to exceed 30 percent of their adjusted gross income. This would significantly increase the affordability of the NFIP program.
Background on Kennedy’s work on flood relief:
- On July 21, Kennedy joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief in response to Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
- On June 21, Kennedy introduced the National Flood Insurance Program Consultant Accountability Act of 2021 to protect homeowners from parties found guilty of fraud that involves property damage assessments.
- On June 7, Kennedy introduced the Flood Insurance Fairness Act to stop the Biden administration from unilaterally making changes to the NFIP that would raise premiums for Louisianians affected by flooding.
- On May 20, Kennedy spoke on the Senate floor against the Biden administration’s plan to facilitate raising flood insurance premiums in a way that could make it more difficult for Louisianians to afford flood insurance for their homes.
- On May 18, Kennedy urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana as the region suffered through flash floods.
Text of the amendment is available here.