Rep. Miller Statement on the Flood Insurance Reform Act
July 8, 2011
"Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this rule, but I am strongly, strongly opposed to the underlining bill -- the National Flood Insurance Program. And I would start with this basic premise -- Why in the world is the federal government even involved in the flood insurance business? Is that our core purpose of being the federal government? Its ridiculous. This program was started in 1968 and the government began writing policies in the early 1970's, and no great surprise, the federal government is doing a lousy job of being in the insurance business.
"This program is currently over $19 billion in debt, and we now need to raise the debt ceiling on this program to about $25 billion. And recently the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator testified to Congress that the flood insurance program, no great surprise, is likely to stay in debt, massive debt, forever. And it is easy to understand why because this program is not actuarially sound. And because the federal government can be treated apparently as a bottomless pit of money, so we don't need to base premiums on any normal risk evaluation -- which is a matrix that private sector insurance companies have to do. In fact, we actually encourage people to build in flood prone areas that repeatedly flood. Just consider this one statistic: only one percent of the properties in this program are considered to be repetitive losses, one percent. Yet that one percent accounts for forty percent of the claims because they repeatedly flood and the federal government subsidizes them to reconstruct.
"At a time of extreme financial distress for our nation, the federal government is subsidizing flood insurance -- why? If it is so great, why don't we start a fire insurance program; how about a wildfire insurance program; how about an earthquake protection insurance program? The truth is that if we have a natural disaster in our country, this Congress, Americans, will always stand up and help that part of the country, that area of the country that is suffering. We will always help our fellow Americans. This program may have been well intentioned at the beginning, but it has evolved into something that is unrecognizable any more. And if we truly ever want to downsize to right size government, the federal government, we can't just be nibbling around the edges of reforming a program that is ridiculous at its very core. We can't be reforming useless government programs; they need to be eliminated. And I believe that the National Flood Insurance Program is a waste of taxpayer's dollars, it is a boondoggle, and it needs to be eradicated. Mr. Speaker, again I do support the Rule but I am obviously am very, very opposed to the National Flood Insurance Program -- that is not the business of the federal government -- we need to get out of that business."