Both John Kennedy and John Fleming Are Slapping Charles Boustany Around On Flood Insurance

Yesterday, Charles Boustany received the endorsement in the U.S. Senate race of Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon in Metairie. He used the endorsement as a podium to attack John Kennedy on flood insurance.

Kennedy came out with a plan a few years back supporting a state flood insurance program. Boustany’s campaign sent out a press release that featured quotes of think tankers and legislators calling it a terrible idea. One of those quoted was State Sen. Blade Morrish.

The Kennedy campaign contacted The Hayride with another quote from Morrish on Kennedy’s insurance plan.

But the chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, said Kennedy’s concept was a strong starting point for discussion. He said such a program could possibly be an arm of the state-run property insurer of last resort, the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

“I think that’s a really good place to start. I wish I had thought of that. I’m not sure it would work, but it’s a good conversation,” said Morrish, R-Jennings.

Morrish said state officials would need to look at whether a state-run flood insurer could keep premiums lower than the federal flood program while also ensuring the company has enough money to pay the claims.

Meanwhile, John Fleming has opened up on Boustany’s record on flood insurance. Fleming communications director Matthew Beynon compared Boustany and Fleming’s records as:

Time and again Rep. Fleming has voted to defend flood victims.  Nothing would have stood in his way of supporting this bill.  Sadly the same can not be said of Charles Boustany.”

What exactly is the Fleming campaign talking about? Here’s what they say:

In his new ad, Rep. Charles Boustany claims he supported “good flood insurance,” but he missed a critical vote to support the Grimm-Cassidy Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370).  This was the most important vote the U.S. House has ever taken to ensure affordable flood insurance.  Rep. John Fleming proudly voted in favor of H.R. 3370.   

  • H.R. 3370 repealed sections of the Biggert-Waters Flood Reform bill to hold harmless homeowners who had followed the rules.  Rep. Fleming joined both Republicans and Democrats in the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to support this legislation.
  • Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) was the only member of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation not to support this legislation — Boustany did not vote on this measure.  (House of Representatives Vote #91, March 4, 2014)

Rep. John Fleming voted in favor of the Cassidy-Grimm Amendment to H.R. 2217, the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014 (funds FEMA and NFIP) 

  • The Cassidy Amendment prohibited funding to enforce section 1308(h) of the National Flood Insurance Act as modified by the Biggert-Waters Flood Reform.  This amendment protected homeowners from price increases for the duration of the spending bill.  Rep. Fleming joined both Republicans and Democrats in the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to support this legislation.  (House of Representatives Vote #203, June 5, 2013)

Rep. John Fleming has worked in a bipartisan fashion with his colleagues to engage the Obama Administration and his counterparts in the United States Senate to ensure that Louisiana flood victims receive fair treatment and access to the best available flood insurance protection.

  • June 4, 2013: Rep. Fleming wrote to David Miller, Assoc. Administrator of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, requesting modified implementation of flood mapping to protect those who have followed the law.
  • June 28, 2013: Rep. Fleming wrote to FEMA Administrator Fugate requesting a delay in flood insurance spikes in light of House of Representatives and Senate Amendments blocking Biggert-Waters.
  • July 15, 2013: Rep. Fleming joined the Louisiana Delegation in writing to FEMA Administrator Fugate requesting rescinding of several parish flood maps.
  • March 5, 2014: Rep. Fleming joined a House letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid requesting the Senate immediately take up and pass H.R. 3370, the Grimm-Cassidy flood insurance bill.

Charles Boustany also voted for the Cassidy-Grimm Amendment in 2013. But Boustany did not vote for Bill Cassidy’s flood insurance bill in 2014 just as Fleming claimed.

Flood insurance is set to be a major issue in the aftermath of the Louisiana floods. So expect the Senate candidates to continue to beat each other up on the issue.

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