Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney Fights to Include Flood Insurance Funding In Homeland Security Bill

Jun 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, secured $54.4 million for the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund, $5 million for the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate, and $345 million for Assistance to Firefighter grants, all under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This money was part of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2017, legislation that passed the Appropriations Committee today.

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill provides a total of $7.3 billion for FEMA’s disaster relief and emergency response activities. Rooney secured funding for programs that help reduce the burden of rising flood insurance rates for homeowners and communities in Florida’s 17th district and that substantially lower their exposure to the physical and economic damages of future hurricanes and floods.

“Florida homeowners have been hit particularly hard by hikes in flood insurance premiums and, to make matters worse, FEMA is basing many of my communities’ flood risk and rates on inaccurate, outdated flood maps,” Rooney said. “The programs funded by this bill will provide relief for homeowners both before and after a storm, help them obtain accurate and reliable information on their flood insurance policies, and reward communities that develop disaster mitigation plans that reduce the economic impact of future disasters.”

On behalf of several counties in Florida’s 17th District, Rooney secured report language in the bill that directs FEMA to allocate flood map funding to help local governments acquire the data collection tools necessary to remap their local jurisdictions. Additionally, Rooney’s language ensures FEMA’s data collection and modeling processes are transparent from beginning to end and involve the active participation of local jurisdictions to ensure maps accurately reflect local conditions and minimize costs to local communities. Rooney also directs FEMA to collaborate with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau to use actual data on home values and household income when determining policyholders’ eligibility for National Flood Insurance Program vouchers.

Importantly, this legislation also targets border and immigration enforcement, enhances domestic protection against cyberterrorism, and supports efforts to stop the smuggling of people and drugs into the United States and our communities.

Other highlights of the bill include:

  • The highest Customs and Border Control staffing levels in history to ensure our borders are adequately protected by putting boots on the ground and improving technology.
  • $2.1 billion for domestic and international investigations programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling.
  • $119.1 million in funding for E-Verify, which helps companies check if their employees may legally work in the United States.
  • Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
  • Increases funding and prioritizes readiness for the U.S. Coast Guard and provides personnel with a needed 1.6 percent pay increase.
  • $36.3 million for University Centers of Excellence (COE), like the University of South Florida’s Cybersecurity COE, that focus on cybersecurity research and education.