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Committee on Financial Services

United States House of Representatives

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CURRENCY
Committee on Banking
and Financial Services

James A. Leach, Chairman

For Immediate Release:
Friday, June 30, 1999 Andrew Parmentier (202) 226-0471

Opening Statement
Of Rep. James A. Leach
Chairman of House Banking and Financial Services Committee
Hearing on H.R. 21, Homeowners’ Insurance Availability Act

 

On behalf of the Committee, let me extend a warm welcome to Deputy Secretary Eizenstat and our distinguished panel of private witnesses. The Committee meets today to receive testimony on H.R. 21, the "Homeowners’ Insurance Availability Act of 1999," introduced by Housing Subcommittee Chairman Lazio and Committee Vice Chairman McCollum and sponsored by 20 members of the committee.

We will be recessing today’s hearing at 11 am for an hour, so members can attend the memorial service for our former colleague George Brown in the Capitol. Because we have limited time it is my hope we can keep opening remarks brief.

H.R. 21 addresses the threat of natural disasters to the availability of adequate and affordable homeowners insurance. It is similar to legislation passed by the Committee in the 105th Congress with bipartisan support.

The Committee will hear from a broad spectrum of witnesses, who have been asked to address philosophical, as well as practical, questions regarding the nature and role of the federal government in this issue. The committee has worked with the Administration in every step of the legislation’s development, and I am especially looking forward to the comments from Deputy Secretary Eizenstat.

It is my hope that legislation can be advanced which will represent real opportunity for families to protect their homes, while at the same time avoiding significant contingent liabilities by the federal government. In this regard, it is my intention to remain open-minded in the pursuit of a consensus which satisfies these priorities. Based on our hearing today, I would hope to be in a position to consider bringing legislation to the House floor early this fall.

The distinguished ranking Member is recognized for an opening statement.

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