The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is promising to take up legislation to delay certain flood insurance premium increases during the week of Feb. 24.
The details of any House bill remain a mystery but the House version is expected to differ from the broad Senate version passed earlier this month (67-32). The Senate bill would effectively cancel all increases that are being implemented under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 for four years.
Backers of a House bill — the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act — that copies the Senate bill say they have more than 225 co-sponsors. However, House leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, have said they will not back the broad Senate approach but might consider more targeted relief.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., this week said that the House will consider a “modified version” of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act the week of Feb. 24.
“The Senate bill irresponsibly removes much needed reforms and imposes additional costs on taxpayers,” Cantor said in a statement. “The House will act to protect the flood insurance program but also protect homeowners from unreasonable and unrealistic premium increases.”
Cantor said legislative text and additional details will be available at a later date.
The White House has also expressed concerns about the Senate bill.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he’s been booted from a Republican leadership position because he broke with GOP leaders over the flood insurance bill.
Also, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., chair of the House Financial Services Committee, said before a Heritage Action crowd this week that any legislation help homeowners should not do away with changes in Biggert-Waters intended to address the National Flood Insurance Program’s $24 billion debt.
“I will not be part of an action that fundamentally undermines what I viewed at the time as very modest reforms of the National Flood Insurance Program,” Hensarling said at the conservative forum.