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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Flood insurance bill easily passes test vote



WASHINGTON - A measure to prevent steep flood insurance rate hikes got a procedural jump start Monday evening, with the Senate voting 86 to 13 to begin debate on the bill.

The vote provides a strong clue the bill will be passed this week. It would delay changes, which Congress approved, for four years while new flood insurance rates and flood maps are scrutinized. The law would not apply to second homes or those that have faced repeated flooding.

Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio were in the majority.

“Although it has taken longer than any of us wanted, today’s vote in the Senate to begin debate on our bipartisan bill brings us one step closer to providing relief to homeowners who played by the rules and need affordable flood insurance,” said Sen Mary Landrieu, D-La.

The more conservative House could be a problem. Critics say the reforms are needed to shore up the National Flood Insurance Program, which is $24 billion in debt.

The White House issued a statement this evening that cited that concern.

[Last modified: Monday, January 27, 2014 7:43pm]


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