Vote on flood insurance delayed in Senate

01/29/2014 8:20 PM

01/29/2014 8:21 PM

The Senate has put off a vote on a bill that would delay flood insurance premium increases under a 2012 law that phased out some federal subsidies. The vote now is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday.

The pending bill would ease the flood insurance costs for homeowners on the North Carolina coast and in flood-prone places nationwide, at least for the near term. The Federal Emergency Management Agency would be required to conduct a study of the new rates.

The White House on Monday opposed the measure now before the Senate, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. It said in a notice that the law now requires that rates reflect true flood risk in order to make the National Flood Insurance Program more financially stable. The NFIP is $24 billion in debt.

The Obama administration’s statement said that it “recognizes that many policyholders may be challenged financially by the new rates and remains committed to working with the Congress to develop approaches that ensure economically distressed policyholders are not unduly burdened while maintaining the financial stability of the NFIP.”

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from Farmville who represents the 3rd District, supports a version of the bill to delay the rate increases in the House of Representatives. In a statement Wednesday, Jones said:

“NFIP reforms should not cause individuals in Eastern North Carolina and across the country to suffer sudden, exorbitant rate increases. Instead, I believe a delay in implementation of the new rates will provide time for adjustments to be made that will allow flood insurance to remain affordable as well as ensure the financial health of the National Flood Insurance Program.

“If the president is truly concerned about the latter, I suggest he stop wasting billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars vainly trying to prop up the corrupt government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and start addressing problems here at home.”

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