GOP Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling told CNBC on Thursday U.S. taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for at-risk homes that have flooded over and over again, a problem highlighted by the two hurricanes that hit the United States over the past month.
“We have these repetitive loss properties,” said the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “So for example, we have one property outside of Baton Rouge [Louisiana] that has a modest home worth about $60,000 that’s flooded over 40 times. The taxpayers have paid almost half a million dollars for it.”
“At some point, God is telling you to move,” Hensarling added in an interview on “Squawk Box.”
“If all we do is force federal taxpayers to build the same home in the same fashion in the same location and expect a different result, we all know that is the classic definition of insanity,” he said.
Hensarling also said the U.S. has some “fairness issues” and said he doesn’t believe a “factory worker in Kansas ought to be subsidizing a millionaire’s beach condo in Florida.”
“If we had a robust competitive market that would help educate people about the risk of flood and a lot of that would get rolled into the homeowner’s policy,” he said.
Some homeowners with property near flood-prone areas should make their homes more resilient or relocate out of the flood zone, Hensarling suggested.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed a bill providing $15 billion for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, which incorporated an extension of the federal flood insurance program.
Homeowners who had purchased flood insurance could expect some help. Others without insurance will have to find assistance through relief aid and donations.