U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent filed a bill Friday seeking to delay the rollout of potentially jarring flood insurance rate hikes.
The new rates, many of which are set to go into effect Tuesday, target owners of older properties in flood zones whose rates have been lowered by subsidies for decades.
"A crucial part of the (flood program) reforms was an affordability study that was supposed to be completed prior to the new rates kicking in," said Nugent, a Republican who represents Hernando and Citrus counties.
"That study still hasn't come back, and the administrator of FEMA has testified that it may not be ready until 2015. That is unacceptable to the residents of our state, and there is no reason these new rates should be going into effect."
The bill would delay the higher rates until the study is complete. The legislation also requires that if the study finds the new rates are not affordable, FEMA must recommend changes to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, signed on as the lead Democrat co-sponsor. Other bill co-sponsors include U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican representing Pasco County and parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and U.S. Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, a Republican who represents most of Pinellas County.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, also recently introduced legislation on behalf of the state to stop the imminent rate increases.