NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Louisiana Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy helped write new federal legislation designed to rescue the National Flood Insurance Program.
In recent years, the financially strapped program has only been reauthorized by Congress on a short-term basis.
Cassidy said Barry’s landfall in Louisiana underscores the need for a strong flood insurance program.
"Barry does highlight the need to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program. I would say to reauthorize and reform,” Cassidy, R-La., said.
Cassidy and Kennedy are part of a bi-partisan group in the Congress who are sponsoring the flood insurance bill which would reauthorize the NFIP for five years and make other changes.
Kennedy said for too long, Congress has kicked the can down the road.
"We’ve been through 10 short-term extensions over the past three years and enough is enough,” Kennedy, R-La., said.
The bill would cap annual premium hikes at 9 percent and provide vouchers for low to middle income homeowners and renters, if their flood insurance premium causes their housing costs to exceed 30 percent of their adjusted gross income.
Kennedy said while the legislation is not perfect, it is a big step forward.
"The bill does a pretty good job of striking a balance between financial stability for the National Flood Insurance Program and affordability,” Kennedy said.
New Orleans resident Leslie Holder said she lost personal and professional items during flash flooding last week, ahead of Hurricane Barry’s landfall in Louisiana. She called it a frustrating experience and now values flood insurance.
“This here is flooded debris,” Holder said, standing near a mound of discarded items. “This is the first pile of many probably that we’re going to have put out and they just said to put it on the curbs.”
Holder said a home office for a portrait studio took in a lot of water.
"Mats, rugs, props, you name it, anything you could ever think,” Holder said.
Now, she said having flood insurance in the future is a must.
"I would encourage any renter in New Orleans or any other flood-prone area, even no matter what zone you’re in, to get it. But it has to be affordable because rent’s already so high,” Holder said.