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House passes flood insurance legislation

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The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) yesterday praised the the U.S. House for approving H.R. 3370, the flood insurance legislation with a vote of 306-91. NAHB stated the passing of the bill will boost home building and remodeling and benefit home buyers and home owners. The Senate is expected to vote on the House bill at the end of the week.

The House bill, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, blocks premiums from raising no more than 18% per property for any one year under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY) put forth the bill in response to constituents complaining premiums had increased to rates they could no longer afford. The bill was written to correct the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, that impose a premium rate increase of 25% on some flood policies that received subsidies through NFIP.

The bipartisan legislation does have its critics, like Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who stated on Feb. 10th, “Ultimately, hardworking American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize other people’s flood insurance premiums.”

The National Flood Insurance Program is run by FEMA, the program is $24 billion in debt to the Treasury, those that buy flood insurance through the program are charged about 40% of the full cost, taxpayers subsidize the rest.

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