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Higgins blasts Trump proposal for increased flood insurance fees to help pay for border wall


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling a Trump Administration proposal to increase fees for property owners in flood zones to help pay for a wall along the southern border outrageous and unfair. 

Higgins is among 31 members of the House of Representatives signing a letter to Congressional appropriators opposing an increase in National Flood Insurance Program premiums for homeowners to assist with the expense of building the President's wall.

"Property owners living in federally designated flood zones are already made to pay hundreds of dollars in additional insurance protection for floods most will never see," said Congressman Higgins. "To further burden flood zone homeowners and small business owners would be outrageous and unfair. The President suggested Mexico would pay for his wall but under this plan it would be hard-working Americans that pay the price."

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established through the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.  The program, administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is intended to require insurance for those most at risk of flood disasters.

The White House proposal, detailed in numerous reports, could impact thousands of homeowners in Western New York who live in neighborhoods that fall in a federally qualified flood zone requiring them to purchase flood insurance.

In the letter Higgins and other members propose the FY18 budget include the following language to protect people required to pay into the NFIP: "No portion of flood insurance premiums, including any and all fees, shall be used to pay for the construction or any related expenses for the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico."

Higgins has been an outspoken opponent of the FEMA's flood insurance program calling the program flawed and critical of the negative impact it has on the resale of properties located in flood zones. In 2008 he was successful in his fight to remove nearly 2,800 properties in the City of Buffalo from the flood zone.   In 2011 he introduced a bipartisan amendment with Rep. Candice Miller aimed at terminating the National Flood Insurance Program.  Higgins also pushed for the removal of unfairly targeted Lackawanna homes from the federal flood map.