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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida lawmakers sign on to flood insurance bill

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson speaks Tuesday at a flood insurance news conference.

Alex Leary | Times

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson speaks Tuesday at a flood insurance news conference.



“This is a great picture,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., declared at a news conference Tuesday to discuss a bill to delay steep flood insurance rate increases.

Schumer was referring to the bipartisan showing of other lawmakers, from the Senate and the House. Conspicuously missing was Florida, the state with the most flood insurance policies.

Only Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, was there to add his support.

So where does the rest of the delegation stand? Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has taken a wait-and-see approach and did not attend the news conference (While it was ongoing, he was on Fox News talking about Obamacare.) His office said he would wait to see the final legislation before deciding to support. Rubio has said he wants the national flood insurance program to get on firm financial footing.

But support was building in the House, where the bill was introduced Tuesday afternoon. The Florida members who have already signed on as co-sponsors: Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, Rich Nugent, R-Brooksville, Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, Joe Garcia, D-Miami, Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.

“This bipartisan breakthrough will benefit thousands of families and businesses in Florida and other states, and will responsibly analyze flood insurance reform in a measured, reasonable way that focuses on stability for homeowners,” Castor said. “I am pressing to have Congress act quickly to pass this bipartisan legislation that provides relief for my neighbors, some of whom saw their rates skyrocket overnight." 

Said Nugent: "A group of us from the Gulf States and the Northeast, largely led by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La) and to her credit, the namesake of the original bill, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), have been working closely over the last couple of months to find a practical way to delay the new system from moving forward until we can find a way to make the program sustainable and unsubsidized without crippling the housing markets in these local communities.  The bill being introduced this week is one major result of those efforts and we’re going to keep exploring options to find something that can pass the Congress."

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 5:40pm]


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