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Eight Years after Katrina, Ranking Member Waters Pledges Continued Commitment to the People of the Gulf

August 29, 2013
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, today released the following statement expressing her continued commitment to the people of the Gulf Region, many of whom are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"On the eighth anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, I stand with the people of the Gulf Region in remembrance of this terrible day, as I have stood with them since those first painful days after the storm hit. I have been an advocate for the preservation and replacement of affordable housing in New Orleans. I have fought to protect those who were homeless and displaced after the storm. I have pushed for resources to redevelop devastated areas and to improve temporary living conditions for those putting their lives back together. And I have worked to help the least fortunate – from displaced public housing residents to homeowners struggling with the Road Home Program to ensuring that renters throughout the Region are not left behind.

"To further help the Gulf community continue down the road to recovery, I also worked across the aisle on the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform law, which was designed to restore stability to the National Flood Insurance Program. However, I recognize that there have been unintended consequences, which I am committed to fixing. It was never the intent of Congress to impose the types of excessive rate insurance hikes currently faced by some residents of southern Louisiana. I am actively working with my colleagues in Congress and with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to solve this problem. It is important that this law ended the spate of lapses and temporary extensions that precluded FEMA from writing new policies, renewing expiring ones or increasing coverage limits.

"While the people of the Gulf Coast have made great progress in the eight years since Hurricane Katrina, there remains a great deal to accomplish. We must fully fund the Community Development Block Grant program, which communities throughout our nation—especially those in the Gulf Region—use to fund economic development activities. The harmful effects of sequestration on this and other housing programs must be brought to an end.

"I congratulate the people of the Gulf Region for their bravery, courage, and determination to rebuild over these past eight years. And, as I have ever been, I remain their partner in working to address these and other concerns to ensure that the Region makes a full recovery."

As Chairwoman of the Committee on Financial Services' Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, Ranking Member Waters became a steadfast advocate for addressing the housing needs of people impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In addition to sponsoring Katrina relief legislation, she stood up for survivors in opposition to the harmful housing policies of the Bush Administration. She has been a tireless advocate to preserve public housing, calling on administrative agencies to preserve and rebuild affordable housing for residents. She also worked on a one-on-one basis with displaced Katrina evacuees – holding several on-the-ground meetings in Houston and around New Orleans – to help them return to New Orleans through public or other affordable housing.

Finally, she is an original cosponsor and strong supporter of bipartisan legislation designed to improve the Biggert-Waters Act by ensuring that the implementation of new flood insurance rates does not unduly burden homeowners or slow the recovery of our housing market.