Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) said the changes would “undermine the flood insurance marketplace, force people from homes they could no longer afford, drive down property values, and destroy communities.”
And Rep. Tom MacArthur (R., N.J.), who represents a large piece of Ocean County, said he was mystified by how the premium hikes would be achieved. He is working on a House plan to overhaul the flood-insurance program and raise some rates, but said the increases considered in that effort don’t come close to what the administration seems to have in mind.
“I don’t know where the administration envisions cutting that much,” MacArthur told reporters. “It certainly is not in the flood bill that I’ve been working on here in the House.”
Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican from the Atlantic City area, said the government “cannot and should not” ask more of policyholders.
The budget documents do not spell out the details of the planned premium hikes or surcharges, and FEMA, which manages the flood program, did not provide any more specifics Tuesday. “Congress can identify mechanisms,” to address the debt, a FEMA spokeswoman wrote in an email.