Thursday, January 24, 2008

Big Day for Garrett

Well, today marks the second bill our Representative Scott Garrett has ever passed through the House. Unlike his previous effort, to redesignate Thomas Edison's workshop, this one will actually impact our District.

Although his press staff didn't publicize it, Garrett's H.R. 3959 will bring flood insurance rates on PreFIRM houses bought for over $600,000, to an actuarial rate as opposed to the rate currently paid. National Flood Insurance Program premiums will increase 15% a year until that rate is achieved.

Co-sponsored by Representative Barney Frank, the bill passed on a voice vote. I'll post any comments Garrett made today when they are posted, however, he did say several things when he tried to introduce the fundamentals of this bill as an amendment to another bill.

At the time, Garrett used the example of a little old widow living across the street from a mega-star in California to make his point, with this the most succinct expression of his reasoning.
...why it is that we should have the poor and the infirm and those people who have been living in their homes for decades have to subsidize the rich and the wealthy in this country.

One thing that did stand out was that Garrett didn't put out a press release. For all intents and purposes, this is Garrett's first significant Bill he has ever been the primary sponsor of getting through the House.

The passage was immediately heralded by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Garrett has enjoyed significant campaign contribution support from the insurance industry in the past, and as ecstatic as they seem to be about this bill that's likely to continue.

For those realizing the added insurance cost may make it more difficult for people in our District to sell their homes, specifically Bergen County, it's unlikely there is anything to worry about. Similar to Garrett's previous effort, this bill does not seem to be destined for passage in the Senate. As pointed out by the Express-Times when Garrett originally proposed the amendment:
It's likely an increase in premiums for homeowners with houses worth more than $600,000 would have constituted a poison pill, making the bill unpalatable for officials from states with high property values and lots of shoreline, e.g., New Jersey.

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