My piece on the Foundry today highlights the troubling trend of Washington walking away from even the smallest of reform efforts.
Conservatives have some allies in Congress who recognize the danger of rolling back the reforms that are locked into current law, but their efforts to protect those changes are being sabotaged by Republican leadership.
Speaking at Heritage Action’s Conservative Policy Summit, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) 83%, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pledged, “I will not be part of any program, policy, act that hastens the bankruptcy of a program that is already underwater.” Unfortunately, though, CQ recently reported that Hensarling has been “sidelined” despite Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) having “repeatedly promised to let committee chairmen guide policy in the House.”
You can read the entire piece here.
House leaders are delaying floor action on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 until next week, according to Democratic and Republican aides. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) told his conference in a private meeting that he’ll “work with Democrats” to further conform to their ideas of how the flood insurance bill should look.
CQ reports (sub. req’d):
Lawmakers have been trying to negotiate a “modified” version of a bill that passed in the Senate (S 1926), but have struggled to get enough votes to pass it under suspension of the rules.
On January 30, the Senate voted 67-32 to pass a bill that would delay reforms enacted to place the National Flood Insurance Program on a sounder footing. The House will take up a similar version of this legislation (H.R. 3370) on Wednesday.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (H.R. 3370) goes further than the Senate bill by completely stopping implementation of certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012, rather than simply delaying them for four years. This House bill forces taxpayers to continue subsidizing high-risk development of flood-prone areas and sets a terrible precedent of never letting positive reform take effect.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) 83% is the House Financial Services Committee chairman, which means he has jurisdiction over flood insurance policy. Yet, despite Speaker John Boehner’s promise committee chairmen would lead on policy in the House (sub. req’d), Hensarling is being sidelined by House leadership because they are “determined to protect politically vulnerable lawmakers during this election year.” (sub. req’d)
On Monday night, the Senate voted to open debate on the innocuously named Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S. 1926), which would delay reforms enacted to place the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on sounder footing.
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, signed into law last year, was designed to provide relief to taxpayers, already burdened with $17 trillion in debt, by enacting common-sense reforms to the flawed NFIP and transitioning flood insurance to the private sector.