Rep. Steve Scalise speaks to PABI membershipOct 21st, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: news
Congressman Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, spoke at the Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry meeting last Friday addressing several of the controversial issues facing the federal government. He spoke on one of the most important issues for Plaquemines Parish— impending rise in flood insurance, but also touched on a few other topics.
Congressional officials from Louisiana, along with many other organizations, said Scalise, are leading the charge to address changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which will cause policy holders to sustain huge rate increases. Due to inaccurate FEMA maps and the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, policyholders are sure to see astronomical rate increases if the NFIP plan is not changed or delayed.
Though this could lead to major insurance issues across the U.S., it will have an absolutely devastating affect on Plaquemines Parish. According to FEMA’s current flood maps, many of the Parish’s levees and storm protection systems are unaccredited—like berms and barrier islands—which means that any property owner residing within one of these “unaccredited” areas will be deemed as living in a high flood risk zone.
“This Act is a death sentence to people,” said Scalise. “[Louisiana] was the guinea pig, but now more and more people are recognizing that this is a problem. FEMA has admitted that its current flood risk evaluations are a problem. All of the unaccredited levees are being re-evaluated.”
Scalise mentioned that a bill has passed in the House that will start to address the issue of grandfathering, which would allow home and business owners currently in compliance with FEMA’s base flood elevations, to remain compliant after the new flood risk maps have been set into place. The next move is the Senate’s.
“We really want to try to delay these sections of the Bill,” said Scalise. “But nothing has passed the Senate yet. People will have to walk away from their homes if this is not fixed.”
Scalise said that either stopping or re-working the Biggert-Waters Act is at the top of their priority list right now.
Scalise stated that the government shutdown ended last Wednesday, but none of the government’s problems were really solved during this time.
“We had to vote on 20 bills to re-open the government,” said Scalise. “Nothing was accomplished. People on both sides of the House have to learn to get together and work things out, or nothing will ever be accomplished.”
In regards to tropical storm Karen, he also stated that though the federal government was shut down, federal, state, and local authorities still would have been able to work together in the event of an emergency situation.
Debt and taxes
According to Scalise, the U.S. has a $17.6 trillion deficit that does not seem to be diminishing.
“The Federal government is spending $120 billion per month of money we don’t have,” said Scalise. “It should be everyone’s goal to balance this budget, not make it worse.”
He said that the House is currently working on a budget that will balance out in about 10 years if all goes according to their plan.
“Our plan is to get America back on track,” said Scalise. “But we have to get the leaders in Washington to agree to this, too.”