Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) took to the House floor to voice his opposition to H.R. 2874, which ignores affordability, accessibility of coverage, and mitigation issues within the National Flood Insurance Program – key areas of concern for Pinellas homeowners. Please find video and text of the Congressman's remarks below.
In a recent op-ed, Crist called on Congress to instead move forward the SAFE NFIP Act – bipartisan, bicameral legislation that he has cosponsored along with Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. Floridians account for more than one-third of all NFIP policies in the nation and paid almost $1 billion into the program last year, highlighting the importance of a strong, sustainable, and affordable program for homeowners across the state.
Statement of the Honorable Charlie Crist in Opposition to H.R. 2874 I rise today in strong opposition to this bill.
We must get flood insurance right. And that starts with affordability. If families can’t afford insurance, they simply will not buy it. In my home State of Florida, the number of NFIP policies has dropped 15 percent since 2012 when Congress started raising premiums.
If you don’t think the government should be involved in flood insurance, maybe that’s good news. Maybe that’s the goal here. But not for the good of the taxpayer when families who can’t afford coverage must turn to FEMA after a disaster.
The bottom line is that unaffordable insurance will fail. And this bill makes flood insurance less affordable – hiking premiums, surcharges, as well as fees. Beyond that, this bill would decrease access to coverage for vulnerable families – forcing them into a private market that does not exist.
Yes, we absolutely need 21st century flood reform. Our climate is changing. Sea levels are rising. Floods are getting worse. And sticking our heads in the sand will only make solutions that much more difficult.
This bill leaves behind the best reform ideas from both political parties – like better mapping as well as mitigation. Those who have lived through natural disasters know you can’t stop the catastrophic force of Mother Nature. But you can prepare.
I urge my colleagues – reject this ideological exercise and put people over politics. Let us come together and pass real, sustainable reform for a strong, affordable National Flood Insurance Program.