FEMA’s new flood insurance program will be tweaked, U.S. Senate learns

FEMA's new flood insurance program will be tweaked, U.S. Senate learns
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WASHINGTON — In between near-constant pummeling by Republicans, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed at a congressional hearing last week that a new federal system for setting flood insurance premiums needs more tweaking than expected.

The system, dubbed Risk Rating 2.0, is one of the few federal initiatives that has drawn bipartisan opposition in Louisiana. Since its inception in 2021, lawmakers of both parties have demanded — without success — that the Federal Emergency Management Agency explain just what variables go into its pricing formula. They’ve also said the revamp gave Louisiana short shrift.

Meanwhile, the feds have defended the new system, which was unveiled after decades of complaints from the country’s interior that FEMA’s older system unfairly subsidized coastal areas. The government has said Risk Rating 2.0 is aimed at better aligning premiums with individual properties’ actual flood risks.

But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, is now rethinking its approach, Mayorkas said to the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee as he presented his agency’s budget Wednesday. The agency is also considering grants to help some businesses and homeowners, he said.

“We are reviewing our grant programs to ensure that again they leave no community disenfranchised … We are reviewing and need to continue to review the Risk Rating 2.0 given the concerns that have been expressed,” Mayorkas said.

Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter said the takeaway from Mayorkas’ testimony is that Risk Rating 2.0 is “not a done deal, like we had been told, and that there will be some revisiting of the formula specifically geared toward fairness and granting relief.”

Carter, whose 2nd Congressional District stretches up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to north Baton Rouge, was one of the only committee members to ask questions that deviated from the committee’s apparent theme: that Mayorkas is responsible for what the GOP sees as a mess on the border with Mexico. He said after the hearing that he did so because flood insurance is far more important to Louisiana than are the country’s problems at the border.

In contrast, Louisiana’s other representative on the House panel, Republican Clay Higgins, of Lafayette, railed at Mayorkas over border security. During the hearing, Higgins accused Mayorkas of abetting Mexican criminals to kill 225,000 Americans with fentanyl and of “herding teenage girls into prostitution sex slave networks.”

Higgins said Mayorkas had a duty to tell President Joe Biden that the administration’s immigration policies had failed, in his estimation.

“We’re done, done, done, with your lies to America. It’s shameful what you brought upon our country,” Higgins said. He had no questions for Mayorkas.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, was next up and she offered Mayorkas some of her five minutes of speaking time to answer Higgins. He declined.

Lee then noted that the problems at the border existed long before Biden appointed Mayorkas to his post.

“My Republican colleagues have been painting quite the picture today, and to hear them tell it, you inherited a secure orderly situation at the border,” Lee said. The 73-year-old former judge represents a district that has been the ultimate destination for many people entering the country illegally since the city’s namesake defeated Mexican invaders near there in 1836.

“I know that many members of Congress only pay attention to the latest news cycle and whether the clip of their five minutes at this hearing will go viral,” Lee added.

As soon as the hearing ended, Higgins tweeted a video of his statement. It had 11,221 “likes” by Friday morning.

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About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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