“We support not having the rates go up immediately, and we also recognize need for long-term solution, so we’re looking for a solution that addresses both short- and long-term problem,” said Rubio spokesman Alex Conant in a statement.
Rubio, who has spent the last week joining Obamacare opponents in deriding the federal health care subsidies, has declined requests to explain what he considers a long-term solution to the flood insurance rate hikes and their impact on real estate sales.
Meanwhile, FEMA Director Craig Fugate testified last month that Congress was unrealistic in its expectation that an affordability study could be completed by April 2013. He said it would take at least two more years.
If Nugent’s proposal is adopted, it requires FEMA to make recommendations to Congress for new rates if it concludes the new rates are not affordable. Congress then would be required to take an up-or-down vote on the new rates or the existing rates will be automatically delayed.
“It’s hard to get Congress’ attention on this,’’ said Sebree of the Florida Realtors Association. “They are more focused on whether to fund or defund Obamacare than whether someone is going to be priced out of a home next week.”
Absent congressional action, homeowners and realtors are placing their hopes on a lawsuit filed Friday by Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to block the rate increases until FEMA completes its affordability study.
Until then, insurance experts say there are some immediate steps homeowners in high-risk flood zones can take.
“Anybody with a subsidized policy should get an elevation certificate,’’ said David Thompson, education instructor at the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. “They’ll possibly save money or at least will know what the full rate is if they want to sell their home.”