ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – With flash flooding events like those affecting Central Louisiana from heavy rain on Wednesday, Aug. 24, and as hurricane season reaches its peak, lawmakers in Washington DC and the state capitol are working to prepare for more severe weather.
News Channel 5 sat down with Sen. John Kennedy to talk about how the terrible weather is affecting the government, especially in terms of insurance, a problem that the government has been facing recently.
“I hope there’s no hurricane, and if we do, I hope we don’t do too much damage,” Kennedy said. “And when we do, I and other members of Congress will do everything we can to get the relief that we need and that our people deserve.”
Although the state has received billions in disaster relief over the past five years after hurricanes Laura, Delta and Ida, Louisiana lawmakers recognize the increasing need to prioritize mitigation efforts.
This is why one of the biggest concerns of the Louisiana delegation is The threat of FEMA 2.0which was launched in 2021, which also calculates what all Americans have received under the National Flood Insurance Program.
This new calculation was done through an algorithm to determine the payments based on the risk of flooding in that area, the current risk and the future risk.
“They say they can put your address into their computer program, and it’s very good, it’s very clear, it’s good at predicting the future, so they can look up your house, not your neighborhood, but they can look up your house. , I’m telling you if you’re going to flood in the next 10, 15, 20, 50 years,” explained Kennedy.
The major changes began in April, affecting nearly 500,000 Louisiana enrollees, who make up 10% of NFIP enrollees.
In a report from the Associated Press on July 22, 2022FEMA “sent a report to the secretary of finance and several congressional leaders that high prices would result in a fall of 1 million orders compared to the beginning of the decade. “
In testimony before the Senate in September 2021, Sen. Bill Cassidy said that 80% of law enforcement officers see an increase in their salary in the first year, increasing to 18% annually.
“They legally can only raise 18%. But they can raise 18% next year, 18% next year, 18% next year, 18% next year,” emphasized Kennedy. “And I think they will do that. And they keep telling me, ‘There are some people who are seeing their wages go down.’ And my answer is, ‘Can you introduce me to them? Because I haven’t talked to anyone in Louisiana whose money has gone down.’ You know, it’s just a mess, and we have a lot of problems that we can’t handle, but these are the ones that can be solved.
However, Kennedy says FEMA will not release the new budget to Congress for review, and some lawmakers, like him and Cassidy, are looking to FEMA for more information. In March, Cassidy sponsored the Insurance Pricing Transparency Act.
“I don’t think science has advanced enough to see it for 50 years. I think the president and FEMA are using this as an excuse to raise money.” I just do it,” said Kennedy. “And I didn’t see it – I’ll take it back if they show me different evidence. But they won’t show it to me.”
But, Kennedy says he doesn’t believe the Senate has the votes to pass the legislation, given President Biden’s opposition.
“Well, a lot of people who oppose this change have loyalty to President Biden. Not all of them, but some of them, they’ll just do whatever – they’re Democrats, of course – they’ll just do whatever the president says,” said Kennedy. “There are some senators for whom flooding is not a big problem in their state, so they are not interested. Senators have many reasons to vote or oppose something.”
Kennedy stressed, however, that there is sometimes a misunderstanding of who pays the most in government.
“We’re talking about working people,” Kennedy said. “Some ignorant people in Louisiana think we’re talking about multi-million dollar beach houses that have been flooded or blown away by hurricanes. It’s not true in Louisiana.”
Both state senators stressed to Congress that the plan would have more to do than just affect how much a resident pays for flood insurance. Rising prices can also affect the value of housing for residents.
“One day you may want to sell if you want to retire. If all of a sudden your flood insurance goes on for a long time, people won’t buy your house, so the value of your house goes down,” explained Kennedy. “So the value goes down. I mean it’s a multi-faceted problem.”
Meanwhile, home owners insurance companies continue to leave the government, and The state-owned insurance company, Citizens Property, is expected to grow from 35,000 to 95,000 policyholders this year.
All this while residents of Louisiana are expecting a stormy season.
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