H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, sponsored by Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), passed 306-91 under a “suspension of the rules” requiring a two-thirds vote in favor. The measure reverses some of the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) introduced by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
However, key senators, including Sen. Robert Menendez, (D-N.J.), the sponsor of the Senate version, said they would accept the House bill.
The House version, known as the Grimm-Waters bill, would provide retroactive refunds for people who have had large flood insurance rate increases due to the sale or purchase of a home, cap average annual premium increases at 15 to 18 percent and allow subsidies for insurance rates that are based on current flood maps.
It also includes non-mandatory language directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “strive to minimize the number of policies with annual premiums that exceed one percent of the total coverage.” The House bill also requires FEMA, which administers the flood program, to notify communities and members of Congress of remapping as well as models used in the mapping process. And it includes assessments on property owners to build up an NFIP reserve fund.
Rep. Grimm, a House sponsor of the measure, called the vote a “tremendous victory” for his constituents “as well as one of Congress’ most consequential bipartisan achievements in recent years.”