WASHINGTON- The victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma will experience a bureaucratic nightmare if Congress does not reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), former Trump campaign communications advisor Michael Caputo said Wednesday.
“Your torture starts now unless there is reform of the National Flood Insurance Program,” Caputo said at an news conference in the corner of a hallway inside the Longworth House Office Building.
Caputo, the owner of a public relations firm, was accompanied by about a dozen victims of Hurricane Sandy who relayed stories alleging that FEMA, which administers the NFIP-defrauded them by stalling and underpaying claims filed on behalf of property that was damaged and/or destroyed during the 2012 storm.
Several of the victims said they are still waiting for the government to honor their claims.
Because FEMA is a federal agency victims are generally unable to seek legal recourse.
Rep. Tom McArthur (R-N.J.), whose district was heavily damaged by Sandy, attended the news conference shortly after it had begun and proceed to blast FEMA.
“They (FEMA) were willing to defraud the residents of my state, my district, by $350 million because it was too hard for them to do the work,” McArthur said.
“It was only when Congress pressured them that they reopened files, that they started settling litigated claims,” he explained.
Congress within the next three months will consider legislation to reauthorize the NFIP as its statutory expires on December 8.
So far Congress has allocated $15.25 billion in emergency assistance for Harvey victims.