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March 04, 2014

GOP Finds A Hill To Die On: Protecting Federal Flood Insurance Subsidies

In 2012 the GOP actually managed to pass a bill to reform the outdated and heavily in debt flood insurance program. Less than two years later they are desperately trying to undo the market oriented reforms they've already passed.

Reforms to flood insurance approved by Congress in 2012 would be scaled back under a deal reached Monday by House Republicans and Democrats.

The rare bipartisan deal, which GOP leaders plan to bring to the floor for a vote on Tuesday, responds to complaints from flooded-out constituents who said the 2012 law would require them to pay much more for federal flood insurance.

...

Conservative groups have accused GOP leaders of backing away from reforms that were meant to slowly reduce the $24 billion in debt racked up by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Several conservative groups are calling on members of the House to vote down the bill, and say the 2012 reforms should stay in place to help reduce the NFIP's debt. Groups like the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, the National Taxpayers Union and others have come out against the bill.

What kind of reforms are the GOP so desperate to repeal?

Congress took steps in 2012 to reduce the subsidies and require rates to be based on a property’s degree of flood risk—an essential element of viable insurance. The Biggert–Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act established a multi-year phase-out of premium subsidies for commercial properties and vacation homes, and for primary residences after ownership changes.

Members of the “flood caucus” and others are now attempting to renege on the reforms at the behest of local politicians and property owners who complain that their premiums are too costly. The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill approved in January prohibits the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from implementing some rate changes for one year. Meanwhile, the Senate approved legislation this month to delay the subsidy phase-out for four years.

The anti-reform campaign is largely fueled by claims that legions of property owners are suffering calamitous premium shock. In fact, only 8 percent of the 5.5 million policyholders face an imminent increase, which will phase in over several years.

So the GOP manage to pass a bill that would require people to pay fair market value for insurance based on the actual risk the insured faces and phase out federal subsidies for premiums and they are feverishly working to undo that less than two years later?

It seems making it cheaper for people to live in flood prone areas is a core GOP value. Maybe even a constitutional right!

And you think they are actually going to do something about ObamaCare if you just leave them alone and stop supporting conservative challengers?

We keep hearing how the House can't do anything because it's just 1/2 of Congress. But this is a case where they DID something and could just sit back. But no, they are working hard to find away to hand back what they've already achieved. You know, like the sequester.

The best part of the big GOP wins this November will how shocked, SHOCKED some people are when electing the same old go along, get along Republicans doesn't lead to conservative action.

Sure it's cold comfort but it's better than nothing at all.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:28 AM

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