WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that the GOP-controlled House won't take up legislation aimed at neutering a 2012 overhaul of the federal flood insurance program that is hitting homeowners with big premium hikes.
Under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, premiums were required to rise to reflect the true flood risk, forcing rate increases of at least 20 percent for the policyholders across the nation and much higher for homeowners in older homes that had benefitted from subsidized rates for years.
Nearly 37 percent of all policies written by the national program are in Florida, and an estimated 268,500 homeowners will lose their subsidized rates.
A provision aimed at delaying rate increases for these "grandfathered" properties is included in the $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill that Congress approved this week.
Asked about the flood legislation during a hallway exchange with the Associated Press in the Capitol complex, Boehner said, "We're not going to do that" and added he's willing to consider more modest, unspecified changes to the flood program.
In a statement issued later, the Ohio Republican said: "While I don't support repealing the 2012 law, we're listening to members and the alternative ideas they are offering on this issue. There have been ongoing discussions with members, and the House may consider changes to the law in the weeks and months ahead that both help homeowners and protect taxpayers."
The Senate will shortly take up legislation to delay major elements of the law, and the legislation is expected to pass. Opposition from the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, means the legislation faces an uphill climb.