Increases National Flood Insurance Premiums due to start October 1 are too much, too soon, for property owners scraping by since Superstorm Sandy, say three New Jersey members of Congress.

Congressman Jon Runyan (Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ)

Representatives Jon Runyan, Frank Lobiondo and Chris Smith (R-NJ) joined six others in the House calling for a moratorium.

New York Representatives Gregory Meeks, Eliot Engel, Michael Grimm, Carolyn McCarthy, Peter King and Chris Grimm are the other signers of a joint message to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

The NFIP rate surges are a matter of law. However, say the legislators, New Jerseyans and New Yorkers whose finances are already in extended turmoil can little afford more of the same.

Congressman Frank LoBiondo testifies in favor of a Sandy funding bill (CSPAN)

The text of their message follows:

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Minority Leader Pelosi, and Minority Whip Hoyer,

As members of the New Jersey and New York delegation, we write to strongly urge you to immediately consider legislative provisions that will delay the onset and ease the burden of National Flood Insurance Premiums (NFIP) rate increases, since many of our constituents rely on the NFIP to insure their home and are still suffering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, NFIP premiums will dramatically rise on some homeowners as early as October 1, 2013 - an increase the families in our districts cannot afford.

There is broad bipartisan support in the House as demonstrated by passage of the Cassidy amendment to H.R. 2217, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014 that passed the House by a 281-146 roll call vote.  This amendment would have blocked funding for implementation of the planned rate hike, but unfortunately, the Senate has failed to act on this legislation.   When the 2014 Continuing Resolution or Omnibus appropriations bill comes to the floor, we respectfully request that the Cassidy rider be present.  If this is not possible then we encourage you to bring standalone legislation to the floor aimed at delaying or easing the burden of the rate increases.

We all understand that Biggert-Waters was necessary to make the NFIP solvent in the long term; however, when this legislation passed no one had anticipated that the most destructive storm in the region’s recorded history would strike the East Coast.  We are simply asking for more time to recover before rates increase.  We thank you for considering our request and look forward to working with you in making this a reality.