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Jeb Hensarling

Rep. Jeb Hensarling told repeat flood victims 'God is telling you to move'

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A congressman from Texas is tired of the the government paying to fix homes that keep flooding.

"The federal government is encouraging and subsidizing people to live in harm's way," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) while appearing on CNBC on Thursday. "At some point, God is telling you to move,"

Hensarling was referring to the National Flood Insurance Program, which offers coverage to homeowners and communities in flood-prone areas. Most home insurance policies do not typically cover flooding, though owners buying in flood-prone areas are required to purchase a government flood policy, according to CNN Money. Hensarling believes the program is suffering major losses due to homes that suffer repeat flooding.

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The numbers appear to back up his claim. Hensarling, who chairs the House Committee on Financial Services, cited an example of a Baton Rouge home that has flooded more than 40 times, costing the the flood program $500,000. A home in Houston with a $100,000 value filed $1 million in claims due to multiple floods, according to the congressman. A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that less than 1 percent of 5 million policyholders take in 25 to 30 percent of claims due to repeated filings.

"We would be better off, they would be better off if frankly we bought out a lot of these properties and returned them to moisture absorbing soil and had it be part of a flood control plan," said Hensarling, who represents Texas' 5th district. "Maybe we pay for the home once, maybe we even pay for it twice, but at some point the taxpayer has got to quit paying and you've got to move."

The flood insurance program was already $25 billion in debt before hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the U.S., those claims could reach the tens of billions.

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