White House Raises Objections to Flood Bill
The Senate is moving toward passing a bill later this week that would freeze flood insurance premium hikes, despite objections raised by the White House.
The Senate voted 86-13 late Monday to break a filibuster on a flood insurance bill (S.1926) co-sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act would delay premium hikes mandated by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 until the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes an affordability study and Congress approves a new premium structure.
Shortly after the bipartisan vote, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy warning that the bill would “erode the financial position of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is already $24 billion in debt.”
The White House did not threaten to veto the bill and offered to work with the bill’s sponsors to “ensure economically distressed policy holders are not unduly burdened by the higher flood insurance rates.”
However, it does not appear S.1926 supporters are willing to make significant changes to the measure.
“They are intent to moving ahead with the bill while reaching out to the White House to try and bring them on board,” one industry official says.
The Senate might start voting on amendments to the flood bill this Thursday, according to sources. “The bill has huge bipartisan support,” one lobbyist says.