« Ros-Lehtinen's legislation calling for end to Venezuela violence passes House | Main | Today in Tallahassee: Five Things To Know »

U.S. House approves flood-insurance relief bill

@PatriciaMazzei

The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly in support Tuesday of flood-insurance relief bill that would delay sharp rate hikes for homeowners in Florida and other coastal states.

As our Tampa Bay Times colleagues Alex Leary and Jeff Harrington reported:

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday night voted to undo major provisions of a 2012 law that has caused sharp flood insurance rate increases, signaling possible relief after months of rising tension among homeowners in Florida and other states.

The bill would eliminate a provision of the law that said government subsidized rates disappear when a person sells a primary home; provides a refund for those who already got hit under that provision; and restores subsidies for "grandfathered" homes that would have been phased out over five years as new flood maps are drawn.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act still allows FEMA to impose rate increases to meet actual flood risk, but the phase-in will be more manageable, bill supporters said.

Florida members of Congress -- and Republican Gov. Rick Scott -- were quick to praise the vote as a way to help worried constituents back home. We've compiled some of their statements below.

From Scott:

“The House’s action on this flood insurance fix tonight is an important win in our fight to undo the unfair flood insurance rate hikes that are hurting Florida families.

“Our state is grateful for the work of US House Speaker John Boehner and the bi-partisan coalition for the passage of this legislation. Since 1978, Florida homeowners have paid $16 billion – nearly four times what we have received in claim payments.

“This legislation will help to ensure the long-term viability of the NFIP by establishing a reasonable glidepath to rate adequacy without causing undue harm to its real estate market and continuing economic recovery.”

From Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla.:

“Although it doesn’t go as far as the bill we passed in the Senate, it’s good the House has approved some curbs on flood insurance.  For the sake of policyholders facing massive rate hikes, I hope we can get a final version sent to the president quickly.”

 From Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami:

“Today’s vote helps address the harmful and unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters bill.  It applies a commonsense approach, including lasting relief for homeowners while maintaining necessary reforms to provide long-term solvency to the floor insurance program. With passage of this bill, Floridians can rest a little easier knowing that they will be protected from immediate and drastic premium hikes. This bill will help stabilize our real estate market, while also protecting the pockets of hardworking American taxpayers. I would like to thank Majority Leader Cantor for recognizing the need for a vote on this important issue.”

From Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami:

“Flood insurance reform has been a serious issue that has affected millions of people across the country, including those in my district. Soaring premium rate increases have placed harsh and unconscionable financial burdens on policyholders – some so severe they were forced to move from their homes. In an effort to reverse these damaging increases, I have been diligently working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help bring meaningful reform to the floor for a vote. 

“I am encouraged by H.R. 3370 and believe it will provide real relief to many homeowners. I am pleased to see that provisions triggering the highest rate increases will be repealed, and that homeowners will be refunded” said Garcia. However, I am disappointed that many home and small business owners will continue to face unfair and unrealistic premium rates. I remain as committed as ever to fighting for stronger, longer-term solutions that will protect every policyholder within my district and throughout the country.”

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

ed jenkins

The citizens have no interest in subsidizing their neighbors who choose to live in risky areas and request that this measure be rejected.

Marc

How about the news start actually reporting the whole story and include facts like who voted AGAINST the flood relief bill.

Bill Thompson

Marc,

Here is the link with the list of how each member of the house voted on this bill. All Florida representatives voted in favor of the bill, except for Corrine Brown, who did not cast a vote. Overall the vote was 306 to 91. D's voted 180-5 in favor and R's voted 126-86 in favor.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/113-2014/h91

Bill Thompson

The citizens are pleased that the house finally brought this bill to a vote after many delays and that it passed. It now has to be reconciled with the Senate version that was already passed long ago. Hopefully, the final version will be closer to the Senate version.

This is great news to Florida's economy and the recovering real estate business activity, as the Biggert-Waters Act had already put a damper on business activity. Governor Scott and our representatives in Washington were correct to support this legislation because too many small and elderly homeowners were being adversely affected by the drastic and sudden changes in the flood insurance program. Many senior citizens would have been forced to sell their homes at reduced values because they couldn't afford the insurance.

James Galvin

How about the people who live on the water subsidizing the real estate taxes for those who can't afford to live near the water. If our homes values go down then so does our real estate taxes which means everyone else's real estate taxes go up. How about the fact that my federal income taxes is subsidizing those people on welfare or unemployment insurance. I have never been on welfare or have been unemployed. Stop complaining.

ed jenkins

There are some unwise commenters who do not understand that property tax amounts are purely a voluntary amount based on the price one decides to pay for a piece of property. Someone can unwisely pay a high price for a property near the water or deep inland and they will pay the same amount of tax on their property. A proper market system would also allow buyers of houses to take the true cost of insurance and risk of loss into account in buying their house in high risk areas which the citizens want to see in this case.

I am sorry to report that this democrat primary voter will be spending the next few days at doral among the people at the golf tournament so I will not be able to express the citizens opinion again until sunday or Monday.

Highly paid Republican operative

Oh no!

The comments to this entry are closed.