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Flood insurance rate-hike delay passes Senate handily

Bill goes to White House for signature after 72-22 vote

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In a strong bipartisan vote on Thursday, the Senate passed 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 bill now goes to the White House for inevitable signature into law.

H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, rolls back previous reforms passed just two years ago with the Biggert-Waters Act and most importantly, a contentious planned rate hike.

“I am thrilled the Senate was able to come together in a bipartisan manner today to protect millions of hardworking families across the country from the steep increases in their annual flood insurance premiums,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. “Today’s critical action will bring relief for many Americans and Georgians who were facing unaffordable flood insurance premiums that could have caused them to lose their homes and see their home values plummet.”

Groups like Smartersafer.org, Taxpayers for Common Sense and a coalition of others from both the left and right said the delays would debilitate the National Flood Insurance Program and put the costs on the back of the American taxpayer.

The measure now goes to President Obama's desk after a 72-22 vote in the upper chamber. The House passed it March 4.

The 2012 reforms that were overturned were aimed at easing hundreds of thousands of homeowners off of subsidized rates, as well as comprehensive updating of flood maps used to set flood insurance premiums.

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