Congress clears bill to ease flood insurance hikes
WASHINGTON - Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to ease big flood insurance premium increases faced by hundreds of thousands of homeowners and allow below-market rates to be passed on to people buying homes with taxpayer-subsidized policies.
The measure breezed through the Senate and on to Obama's desk Thursday on a 72-22 vote. The House passed it last week.
The legislation significantly rewrites a major overhaul of the flood insurance program passed two years ago. The 2012 changes were aimed at weaning hundreds of thousands of homeowners off of subsidized rates and required extensive updating of flood maps used to set premiums.
But its implementation has stirred anxiety among many homeowners along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in flood plains, many of whom are threatened with unaffordable rate increases.