U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is in hot water with some Orange County residents after a controversial vote in the Senate last week.
The U.S. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act in 2012. It led to an increase in flood insurance premiums for millions of Americans.
The Senate voted January 30 on whether or not to delay some provisions of Biggert-Waters, and both Texas Senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, voted against the delay.
That didn't sit too well with some folks in Orange County, especially people in Bridge City. Thursday afternoon dozens packed the Orange County Commissioners courtroom to talk with Cruz aide David Sawyer, who came into town to discuss their concerns. Many in attendance want the bill delayed, saying their flood insurance rates will be 3 to 4 times higher under the new law.
"If this stuff continues on, their flood insurance will be higher than their mortgage... this is hurting people that shouldn't be hurting," Bridge City resident Sonny Stevenson said to Sawyer.
Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte had encouraged many to attend.
"When I found out how... both of our Senators voted, it just kind of really hit home... it makes you feel like that they might not be in touch with what these things are going to do and how it's going to affect our community," Roccaforte told 12News.
Sawyer has been visiting cities throughout Southeast Texas, and said the turnout in Orange was the best so far. He said he was happy to come and listen to the citizens.
Senator Cruz's office issued this statement to 12News explaining the reasoning behind his vote:
Unfortunately, the flood insurance bill voted on by the Senate Thursday doesn't fix the real problem with flood insurance. In fact it makes the problem worse. It undercuts the financial health of a program already in severe distress, undermining the ability to effectively respond to the next bad storm, and fails to meaningfully resolve flood premium issues. There are problems with existing law that deserve to be addressed and positive solutions that were presented. For instance Sen. Pat Toomey's substitute amendment would have gradually phased in program reforms required by the 2012 flood insurance reauthorization, but unfortunately it was not accepted in the final legislation.
The issue is now in the hands of the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is expected to reach the House floor in March or April.