(WASHINGTON) — The Senate Monday night voted overwhelmingly — 86-13 — to advance a bill delaying higher premiums under the federal flood insurance program by four years.
The legislation aims to keep in place current flood insurance rates until FEMA submits a new plan to keep rates “manageable” for homeowners and businesses impacted by new rates.
It stems from a 2012 law, allowing premiums to rise because the National Flood Insurance Program is more than $20 billion in debt.
“The country needs to wake up. This issue will affect everyone in many places,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., a top sponsor of the bill.
Without the bill, some homeowners in flood areas could see premiums rise exponentially — perhaps by a factor of 10. These premiums could threaten the recovering real estate market.
It was a preliminary vote in the Senate, but the wide margin all but guarantees its final passage later this week.
It faces an uphill battle in the House. Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans don’t support the bill.
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Robert Patten, EastIdahoNews.com
Tom LoBianco, CNN
Ruth Brown and Lis Stewart, Idaho Press-Tribune