Editor’s Note: A guest post from Emily Cornell of Keep Louisiana Working
Rhetoric rules in a political year. However, when you look at true policy effectiveness, Congressman Bill Cassidy rises to the top. To date, his amendment to delay rate hikes is the only legislation to pass both the U.S. House and Senate. In fact, Cassidy’s legislation has passed more than once, first in June of 2013. Senator Landrieu, who has recently seen her self-proclaimed “indispensible” status in the U.S. Senate threatened by plummeting approval ratings, wasn’t able to convince Harry Reid to even allow a vote on flood insurance legislation.
Thankfully for Louisiana, Reid’s resistance to insurance reform wasn’t 100% successful. Cassidy fought to have the “Cassidy Amendment” on flood insurance included in the Omnibus bill that went on to pass both chambers of Congress in January. The Cassidy Amendment, which brings relief to nearly 400,000 Louisiana policyholders, is a huge victory for people who were on the verge of losing their homes due to rising flood insurance premiums. By delaying this increase, Cassidy has bought the Congress time to come to a long-term resolution.
Senator Landrieu has repeatedly attempted to claim credit for a flood insurance relief bill authored by Senators Menendez and Isakson. While Menendez-Isakson is a bipartisan piece of legislation attempting to solve a real problem, Senator Landrieu didn’t author it, as she’s trying to lead Louisianans to believe. In fact, given the enormous price tag of this legislation, an estimated $24 billion, it’s unlikely to ever become law – a fact often left unmentioned by Senator Landrieu.
Without successful legislation correcting the flood insurance hikes, construction is virtually halted here in flood insurance affected areas. Not only does this mean a loss of job growth and expansion, but a potential crash in the housing market, according to Greater New Orleans, Inc. Last week the National Association of Home Builders testified in DC calling on Congress to address both these problems by resolving flood insurance hikes, permanently. Landrieu’s pursuit of a positive ‘spin’ on her role in the flood insurance debate is costing both Louisiana homeowners and business owners.
Instead of reciting rhetoric, we encourage Senator Landrieu to think outside the box and come up with a viable policy that can pass a divided Congress. Fortunately for Louisiana, Cassidy is not simply pushing rhetoric for messaging purposes, but is in fact promoting effective policy aimed at crafting solutions for thousands of families affected by flood insurance hikes.