Bill to ease flood insurance rate hikes heads to president
WASHINGTON (AP) – Less than two years after passing major legislation aimed at reforming the government’s much-criticized flood insurance program, Congress on Thursday sent President Barack Obama a bill to scale back many of the resulting big flood insurance premium increases faced by hundreds of thousands of homeowners. The measure would also allow below-market insurance rates to be passed on to people buying homes with taxpayer-subsidized policies.
The measure breezed through the Senate and on to Obama’s desk by a 72-22 vote. The House passed the measure last week.
The legislation significantly rewrites a major overhaul of the flood insurance program that passed almost unanimously in 2012. Those 2012 changes were aimed at weaning hundreds of thousands of homeowners off of subsidized rates and required extensive updating of the flood maps used to set premiums. But its implementation has stirred anxiety among many homeowners along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in flood plains, many of whom are threatened with unaffordable rate increases.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the White House has indicated Obama will sign the measure into law despite earlier administration reservations about a Senate-passed bill that would have delayed implementation of the 2012 law.
“While it is important to put this program on sound financial footing, middle-class families should be able to afford the insurance they need to stay in their homes,” White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne said.