Cities Lobby for Halt to Flood Insurance Increases; House Vote Blocked

February 12, 2014

Yesterday the National League of Cities joined the Florida League of Cities, Florida Association of Counties and others in meetings with White House officials and members of Congress to urge a halt to flood insurance premium increases prompted by a 2012 reform law.

The groups want Congress to delay implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act to reform the National Flood Insurance Program.

While the U.S. Senate voted last week to postpone implementation of the act for four years, the House of Representatives and the White House have both balked on a broad or lengthy delay of flood insurance increases and reforms.

“America’s cities applaud the efforts in Congress to help millions of homeowners facing dramatic increases in their flood insurance premiums,” said Clarence Anthony, executive director, National League of Cities.

Anthony said Congress should give the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the insurance program, more time to complete an affordability study mandated by the Biggert-Waters law.

“Federal legislation and decision-making can affect Florida’s municipalities just as much, and in some cases even more, than state legislation,” said Florida League of Cities President P.C. Wu, council member, Pensacola, Fla.

Wu said issues regarding the Biggert-Waters act and municipal financing have an impact on cities.

For the third time in two weeks, House Republicans yesterday rejected a Democratic procedural motion to bring legislation that would delay the implementation of flood insurance increases up for a vote. However, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif, said support for the delay bill — H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act— has been growing and it now has 207 bipartisan cosponsors.

In January, the Senate passed the bill 67-32.

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