FEMA pauses flood insurance rate update after Schumer pushback: report
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has paused an impending update to flood insurance rates, aimed at making the country more prepared for risks of climate change, after objections from Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), The New York Times reported Thursday.
FEMA was reportedly set to announce new rates on April 1 to better factor in climate risks, a move that aimed to reduce construction in areas with significant threats but could have increased some costs for people who live in those areas.
The Times reported, citing anonymous sources, that Schumer fought the changes, and that his efforts halted FEMA’s action.
Neither FEMA nor a spokesperson for Schumer immediately responded to The Hill’s request for comment.
Schumer spokesperson Alex Nguyen told the Times that the agency should consult Congress before taking action and called for “affordable protection.”
“FEMA shouldn’t be rushing to overhaul their process and risk dramatically increasing premiums on middle-class and working-class families without first consulting with Congress and the communities at greatest risk to the effects of climate change,” Nguyen said. “Congress and the Biden administration must work together in a collaborative and transparent process.”
An agency spokesperson told the newspaper that FEMA will continue to work with Congress to carry out the plan and its changes will “better reflect an individual property’s unique flood risk.”
When he was on the campaign trail, President Biden’s climate plan included provisions saying he wanted to help make the country more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
His plan also notes, however, that resilient efforts “must consciously protect low-income communities from ‘green gentrification’ ” in a section that noted that some mitigation efforts can raise property values.
Schumer, meanwhile, publicly pushed back on proposed FEMA flood insurance changes in 2019, saying they “unfairly put a bullseye on the backs of Long Island and New York homeowners,” and that the agency should “halt.”