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.
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)
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 commonsense reforms to the flawed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and transitioning flood insurance to the private sector. The law phases out flood insurance subsidies and sets premium rates to be paid by property owners that reflect the actual risk of flood damage.
A transition to the private sector is essential for the protection of taxpayers. Flood insurance payouts have meant huge financial losses for the NFIP, which means Congress has had to borrow huge amounts of additional money from the U.S. Treasury. Indeed, as of September 30, 2013, the NFIP owed the U.S. Treasury $24 billion.