Legislation to protect homeowners from unreasonable premium increases for flood insurance gained traction in the U.S. House this week. A strong bipartisan allegiance gained a majority with 231 sponsors of a bill to restructure the onerous 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, enough votes to ensure passage.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia gave credit for progress on the legislation to several Florida congressmen, including Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.
But Cantor also stated opposition to a similar Senate-approved bill, indicating his intention to make unspecified changes. He does allow that a vote will be held later this month on a House bill.
At the least, a House measure should delay the financial crunch on homeowners and force the Federal Emergency Management Agency to justify new flood-zone maps and re-evaluate what has been described as actuarily sound premiums.
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Some of the new rates in the National Flood Insurance Program went into effect last October. Florida's real estate industry witnessed a drop in business as homebuyers avoided properties with soaring premiums.
Some 11,264 Manatee County property owners hold NFIP policies. Buchanan is scheduled to attend a political fund-raiser with House Speaker John Boehner today in Sarasota, and we urge him to lobby for a floor vote on relief for homeowners across the nation. The majority should rule, as the Founding Fathers intended.