How the $9.7 billion National Flood Insurance Program funding will help Hurricane Sandy victims in NY & NJ
Last Friday, House Republicans passed H.R. 41 to authorize $9.7 billion in funds for the National Flood Insurance Program, which was set to run out of money this week.
Although the amount approved is only a fraction of the $60 billion federal disaster relief package sought by states devastated by Hurricane Sandy, the money will help about 100,000 insured homeowners and renters in New York and New Jersey whose homes suffered damages from the “Frankenstorm” in October.
Homeowners and renters with flood insurance could receive up to $250,000 to cover the cost of repairing damages and property losses caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The National Flood Insurance Program covers damages to a building and its foundation, electrical wiring and plumbing, air conditioners and heaters, refrigerator, stove, and built-in kitchen appliances, and carpeting. Homeowners and renters could also purchase flood insurance to cover content losses, such as their clothing, furniture, washer and dryers, and other portable appliances. Losses exceeding $250,000 will have to be paid out-of-pocket by the homeowners or renters.
Depending on the policy, the flood insurance premium could cost a homeowner or renter between a few hundred dollars a year to about $8,000 a year.
But even so, 67 House Republicans – including former GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan – voted against H.R. 41 and the $9.7 billion to fund the National Flood Insurance Program for Hurricane Sandy victims.
The GOP opposition angered Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), whose state – along with New Jersey – suffered the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.
“Flood insurance is an obligation of the federal government…[for] people who’ve paid for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a year and in return the federal government says, ‘If you’re flooded, we will reimburse you for the damages you’ve suffered,’” Schumer pointed out. “So I don’t understand why anyone would not want to vote for that.”
Schumer also criticized the GOP lawmakers’ objections to funding a government-backed insurance program that they feel is in need of “reform”. (It would be akin to an insurance corporation refusing to process their policyholders’ legitimate claims until the company changes the policy terms and conditions to its executive board’s satisfaction.)
“That is just terribly harsh to a homeowner who has lost his home. Should they sit around and wait 2 years – lose their lives – ’til we reform the program?” Schumer said. “There’s nothing wrong with reforming the program and we should – we’ve made some efforts to do it already. But to hold the homeowners who desperately need this money and paid in for this money as almost hostage to reform – that’s unconscionable.”
- WhatTheFolly.com: House passes $9.7 billion Hurricane Sandy funding, a fraction of the $60 billion aid sought
- WhatTheFolly.com: List of 67 House Republicans who voted against the $9.7 billion flood insurance funding for Hurricane Sandy victims
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript of press briefing Q&A with Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on the $9.7 billion National Flood Insurance Program funding for Hurricane Sandy victims
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript of Sen. Chuck Schumer on the $9.7 billion National Flood Insurance Program funding for Hurricane Sandy victims
- FloodSmart.gov: Coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program
- FloodSmart.gov: Policy rates for homeowner
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: NJ Gov. Chris Christie blames Boehner & House GOP for blocking Hurricane Sandy disaster relief funding
- WhatTheFolly.com: Analysis: FEMA & federal disaster assistance funding threatened by sequestration, GOP budget cuts
- Thomas.LOC.gov: H.R.41 — To temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program. (Introduced in House – IH)
- C-Span.org: Sens. Schumer (D-NY), Gillibrand (D-NY) on Sandy Aid
- Clerk.House.gov: Roll call vote for H.R. 41 To temporarily increase the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program
- Speaker.gov: Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor Statement on Hurricane Sandy Relief