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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Castor urges Boehner to take up flood insurance bill



Rep. Kathy Castor sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner about his recent comment that the House would not take up the Senate's flood insurance bill (which has a companion in the House.). The AP's initial story, based on a passing comment Boehner made in the hallway, was updated with a more measured response. Still, the House is an obstacle.

The flood insurance issue, which has bipartisan backing in Florida, is one of the biggest tests of the state's political power in recent memory.

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am very concerned about the comments you made last week that you will not allow the House to consider the bill to prevent skyrocketing and unreasonable flood insurance rates that is likely to pass the U.S. Senate soon.  On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of families and small business owners I represent, I urge you to reconsider.

Many of us have been pressing for action by the Congress for months.  I have been working on a bipartisan basis to develop a variety of solutions that will protect families and small businesses from the arbitrary and unintended increases of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act.   In fact, I have offered an amendment to every piece of legislation moving through the House for the last three months that would provide relief from the unconscionable increases.  I previously had been told by Republican colleagues that you and the Majority Leader were considering action.  So, I was extremely disappointed to read your statement last week.  Your statement also received extensive coverage this weekend in my hometown newspapers.

The unreasonable flood insurance increases are harmful particularly to middle class families across the Tampa Bay area, however this as a national issue.  One hundred and eighty bipartisan members have cosponsored the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 and thereby have demonstrated the broad-based support for moving forward now.

Expeditious action is necessary due to the huge flood insurance bills now coming due.  I share the frustration of my neighbors that many of the changes adopted by FEMA are outside the original intent of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.  Unless you take up a solution now, greater economic harm will be inflicted.

Therefore, I urge you to reconsider your opposition to the bipartisan legislation that would halt these outrageous rate hikes and establish a permanent fix that considers affordability.  The large and growing group of bipartisan members who have worked together to remedy the flood insurance rate increases have rallied around the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013.  The Act is close to Senate passage.  Listen to the families, small business owners, Realtors, chambers of commerce and retirees across America who agree that the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 is the right approach.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 7:28am]


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