Homeowners continue to rebuild after many lost their houses to Hurricane Sandy. But maybe the most important house to this recovery – sits untouched miles away.
Political division rankled through the House of Representatives, turning votes into ordeals.
But last week we saw a rare moment of bipartisanship on the Hill. 193 Democrats and 161 Republicans came together to allow FEMA to borrow $9.7 billion dollars to pay out policies for Sandy victims under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Only 67 House Representatives voted against the bill. Representative Mo Brooks (R – Dist. 5) was one of them.
It may seem strange since the northeast after Hurricane Sandy looks a lot like his home district after April 27th.
But he says he’s not against disaster aid, “When you’ve got a disaster, the role of the government is to come in and protect lives. And protecting lives means providing food, providing temporary shelter, providing water, providing – in some instances – healthcare needs.”
But he does have strong opinions about those looking for their flood insurance payouts, “If you’re going to be a responsible American citizen, then you pay for your own homeowners insurance or business insurance. You do not try to shift that cost of your lifestyle on the rest of America.”
But really, it’s the amount FEMA charges homeowners for flood insurance that Brooks takes issue with, “The insurance premiums that were being paid were insufficient. That’s why you have a debt currently of twenty-billion dollars going to thirty-billion dollars. FEMA needs to start charging premiums that offsets the actual payouts under the flood insurance program.”
A single provision could have changed his mind.
Brooks says, “I would have been willing to support legislation that at the same time would have forced FEMA to start charging insurance premiums that are adequate to cover the disbursements.”
The House granted the funds over the objections of Brooks. It remains to be seen whether his suggestions will go anywhere at all.