Sen. Bill Nelson Talks Unemployment System And Flood Insurance In Fort Myers

Jan 24, 2014

Credit Ashley Lopez / WGCU

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, visited Fort Myers Thursday.

He spoke with reporters about pending flood insurance rate hikes and the state’s troubled unemployment website.

Nelson said he doesn’t know why Gov. Rick Scott’s administration didn’t do more to make sure jobless Floridians received state assistance.

Last October, Florida officials launched a new unemployment website riddled with errors, which has kept hundreds of jobless residents from getting help.

Nelson said he’s grateful U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez listened to his request and recently announced he would help fix the state’s unemployment problems.

“He not only fulfilled his promise and sent a team, he came himself last week,” he said. “I will be talking to him tomorrow to get his analysis of what it takes for the state to complete this out, but in the meantime they are paying the claims.”

Nelson also addressed legislation in the Senate that would stop looming flood insurance rate hikes for the next four years.

He said he’s optimistic the Senate will pass it soon. However, he said leaders of the Republican-led House are holding up the bill.

“What we need to do is just convince the members of Congress in the House of Representatives to pass the bill so the president can sign it,” he said. “That’s the only way you get enough pressure. Those members will understand this is a matter of equity.”

The Republican Party of Florida called on Nelson Thursday to ask President Obama to issue an executive order stopping the hikes. Nelson said he looked into it, but there are legal obstacles to that plan.