Make us your home page

Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis loses leadership post for voting to stop flood insurance rate hikes

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis is as reliable a Republican vote as any member of his party. But by joining Democrats on a symbolic vote concerning flood insurance, he is paying a price.

The Palm Harbor lawmaker has been removed from the House leadership team in charge of gathering support or opposition to bills.

"I enjoyed being on the whip team because it gave me, and therefore, my constituents, a seat at the table, but I am not upset about taking a stance on this Biggert-Waters nightmare," Bilirakis said Thursday, referring to a 2012 law that has resulted in soaring flood insurance rates.

The Senate passed a bill that would significantly reverse the law but House Republican leaders blocked it, saying it goes too far. So Democrats have tried a series of procedural votes to force a vote on it.

It has failed each time on party lines, but a handful of Republicans crossed over.

"I knew there would be consequences for my vote against leadership," Bilirakis said. "I understand (Republican) Whip (Kevin) McCarthy did what he had to do, and I have no hard feelings at all, but I had to do what I had to do."

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., was decidedly happy to be booted from the team.

"I feel great about it," he told the Times-Picayune. "It's nothing personal, but I told folks back home that I was going to do everything I could to stop unreasonable flood insurance premium hikes."

Cassidy is running against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who is also aggressively pursuing legislative fixes to the flood insurance rate hikes.

The House plans to take up its own flood insurance legislation next week.

Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis loses leadership post for voting to stop flood insurance rate hikes 02/20/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 21, 2014 12:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Miami-based Related Group has broken ground on a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  2. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sells house for $3 million to new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman's multi-million Davis Islands home is staying in the Lightning family. Yzerman sold his 6,265-square-foot house Monday to new defenseman Dan Girardi for $3 million.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman sold for $3 million Monday to Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. | [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  4. Trigaux: As Florida seeks top 10 status as best business state, red flag rises on workforce


    In the eternal quest to appeal more to business than other states, Florida's managed to haul itself out of some pretty mediocre years. After scoring an impressive 8 among 50 states way back in 2007, Florida suffered horribly during and immediately after the recession. Its rank sank as low as No. 30 only four years ago, …

    Florida's trying to make strides in preparing its high school and college graduates for the rapidly changing skill sets of today's workforce. But the latest CNBC ranking of the best and worst states for business gave Florida poor marks for education, ranking No. 40 (tied with South Carolina for education) among the 50 states. Still, Florida ranked No. 12 overall in the best business states annual ranking. [Alan Berner/Seattle Times]
  5. For the first time in Florida, a white person is set to be executed for killing a black person.

    State Roundup

    GAINESVILLE — For the first time in state history, Florida is expecting to execute a white man Thursday for killing a black person — and it plans to do so with the help of a drug that has never been used before in any U.S. execution.

    This undated photo provided by the Florida Department of Corrections shows Mark Asay. If his final appeals are denied, Asay is to die by lethal injection after 6 p.m. Thursday. Asay was convicted by a jury of two racially motivated, premeditated murders in Jacksonville in 1987.  [Florida Department of Corrections via AP]