Author Topic: WSJ: Flooding Capitol Hill - Republicans cave to the Realtors on taxpayer flood insurance  (Read 365 times)

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Online Oceander

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Flooding Capitol Hill
Republicans cave to the Realtors on taxpayer flood insurance.

Bipartisan achievements have been rare since Republicans took the House in 2010, but one of them was the 2012 reform of federal flood insurance.  A mere two years later, House Republicans want to abandon their work and expand the middle-class subsidy on the backs of taxpayers.  Where's the tea party when you really need them?

The goal of the Biggert-Waters reform of 2012 was to require that property owners gradually adjust to paying actuarially sound rates for taxpayer-backed flood insurance.  Millions of Americans have long paid below-market rates to cover their shoreline homes, leaving the National Flood Insurance Program under water by some $24 billion after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.  The federal program has $1.3 trillion in outstanding insurance, though private insurers provide flood coverage for losses above the federal $350,000 limit and are eager to do more.

Under the reform, already-subsidized vacation homes, businesses and "severe repetitive loss" properties would see premiums rise 25% per year until they paid actuarial rates.  Owners of primary residences with federal flood insurance would see no change unless they sold their home, in which case the new homeowner would pay the actuarial rate.

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Even these modest price increases were too much for beach-side mansion owners and the Realtors who want to sell those homes, and so they descended on Congress to demand repeal.  Michael Grimm of New York City's Staten Island [a Republican] has led the charge for repeal, and the House will vote on his bill as early as Wednesday.

He proposes to limit the breadth of FEMA's remapping (which hasn't even begun), repeal the home-sale trigger so new owners don't pay higher rates, and retroactively refund premiums for properties sold since July 6, 2012.  Some 700,000 of 1.1 million covered properties would enjoy taxpayer subsidies in perpetuity.

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Political discredit here also goes to House GOP leaders, who chose to dodge the regular legislative order that Speaker John Boehner promised in 2011.  He is letting Mr. Grimm's bill avoid vetting in committee and is bringing it directly for a quick and dirty floor vote.  If Senator Ted Cruz and Heritage Action are looking for something of substance to rebel against, this is it.

Online Oceander

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This, and not the Noh Theatre antics of the debt ceiling, is where those republicans/conservatives who care about federal spending can prove their mettle.  This is where they can prove they walk the walk as well as they talk the talk, or not.

It may not make headlines the way the debt ceiling theatrics did, but if Cruz & Co. fail to oppose this idiocy, then they will have proven that they're all bun and no beef.

I for one really hope the tea partiers do show up for this one, and that they pass the test.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 07:00:34 PM by Oceander »

Offline Once-Ler

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Keeping my eye on it.  Thanx for the post.
Jeff B/DDHQ‏@EsotericCD More 6mo into 1st year of Trump's term & he's already looking into pardoning himself & his family We bought this ticket, we're takin' this ride.


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