Scalise Hosts Roundtable with Local Leaders, Urges FEMA to Delay NFIP Risk Rating 2.0
JEFFERSON, La.—Today, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) led a roundtable discussion with local leaders from across South Louisiana to discuss the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as well as FEMA's Risk Rating 2.0 and concerns about its impact on policyholders. Whip Scalise talked about the need for long-term reforms to NFIP to prevent families from experiencing unjustified flood insurance rate hikes due to the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0. Additionally, Whip Scalise mentioned that he's working with members on both sides of the aisle in Congress to reach a long-term reauthorization of NFIP.
Click here or on the image above to watch Whip Scalise's remarks.
On the roundtable discussion regarding NFIP reform:
“We just finished up a [meeting] about the National Flood Insurance Program, and specifically what’s coming out with this new program called Risk Rating 2.0. This is something that FEMA has put out as part of the National Flood Insurance Program that’s going to have some very devastating impacts all throughout the country, but especially in South Louisiana — if it’s carried out. This is part of a coalition. We’ve got parish leaders, business leaders, [and] many other trade groups that have been working for years to try to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. This has been a national coalition that we’ve put together. I’ve worked with many of my Republican and Democrat colleagues in Washington to try to get long-term reforms to the NFIP so that it’s sustainable for families, works for the taxpayers of the nation, but also provides the needed flood insurance for communities who have no other option. So, as we’re looking at this latest round of Risk Rating 2.0 that’s coming out, the premiums that families are starting to face are just devastating, and they’re not sustainable. As we talked about this with people here in South Louisiana who have been working on this for a long time, one of the things that is most frustrating and disappointing is that you can’t get any real answers from FEMA on how they came to the methodology to give people rate increases that maybe today are paying $500 a year, [but] now will be faced with a $5,000 or more [a year] bill from NFIP — just for flood insurance. The fact that FEMA can’t even tell you how they’re basing those decisions — there is no transparency with this program.”
On bipartisan efforts in Congress to achieve a long-term NFIP reauthorization:
“Many of us in Congress have been pushing to stop Risk Rating 2.0 from taking effect. In fact, I talked with [White House Advisor] Cedric Richmond this morning over at the White House and made him well aware that we’re having this meeting. He’s surely aware that this is a problem. [I] emphasized to him that this is something that would be devastating. We’re urging the Biden Administration to stave off Risk Rating 2.0 as Congress works to get a long-term authorization. NFIP expires on December 3. So, there is a lot of talk in Washington about coming together to get a bipartisan agreement, and those conversations are ongoing. Last week, I was in a conversation with [House Financial Services Chairwoman] Maxine Waters, and she actually agrees that this program needs to be reformed, and we talked about some of the things we need to do in the coming days and weeks to try to get a long-term agreement. In the meantime, we need to stave off the devastating impacts that we would see from this program.”
On thanking local leaders on fighting massive flood insurance premium increases:
“So, I do want to bring up some of the parish leaders we have with us — [Jefferson Parish President] Cynthia Lee Sheng, [Lafourche Parish President] Archie Chaisson, [St. Tammany Parish President] Mike Cooper, [Plaquemines Parish President] Kirk Lepine. We also have [Greater New Orleans, Inc. President & CEO] Michael Hecht, and we have two men who have run levee boards down in Lafourche [Parish]. They’ve done a phenomenal job running levee systems — [North Lafourche Levee District Executive Director] Dwayne Bourgeois and [South Lafourche Levee District General Manager] Windell Curole. What they’ve done with local money — these are not federal levees — in places that have seen a lot of water but have not flooded. They protect people in their communities, and they can’t even find out from FEMA how the flood protection that they’ve had and provided for their people would be factored in because it’s not a federal levee. Those are the kinds of questions that shouldn’t be asked to this day when people are starting to get massive premium increases. FEMA should have had those answers a long time ago. This program is not ready for primetime, and we’re trying to stave off Risk Rating 2.0.”