The Courier, Houma, La., on Congress finally acting to avert flood insurance crisis:

March 6
The Courier, Houma, La., on Congress finally acting to avert flood insurance crisis:
The U.S. Congress is on the verge of fixing what could have been a huge problem for Louisiana home and business owners.
The House passed a measure Tuesday that will allow customers of the National Flood Insurance Program to keep their federal subsidies and pass them along to those who might purchase their property. It will also impose a lower limit on how much property insurance rates can be raised each year.
The bill will undo some of the potentially disastrous effects of a 2012 law, the Biggert-Waters Act, which sought to reform the flood insurance program by raising many rates, ending subsidies and doing away with grandfathering rates from one property owner to the next.
Biggert-Waters threatened to unleash chaos on the real estate market — not just here, but in flood-prone areas throughout the U.S.
The House has now passed a relief bill, the Senate has passed a similar measure, and President Obama has promised to sign the legislation, heading off what could have been an economic catastrophe in south Louisiana and elsewhere.
Perhaps the most telling fact about these bills — the House and Senate versions — is that they both passed by huge bipartisan majorities. That accomplishment should give all Washington observers hope that when enough people raise their voices in opposition to an unfair law, things can change. Even in the bitterly partisan Congress, common sense can occasionally win the day.
Now, people who live or own businesses in low-lying areas won’t face the potentially crippling price increases that threatened to simply price them out of the insurance market and leave them financially vulnerable to future floods.
However, the prospect of the flood insurance program that is deeply in debt remains. Much of the $24 billion the program owes is due to claims paid in the wakes of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.
There are long-term answers out there, and the reform-minded legislators who passed the 2012 law should join with those who oversaw the recent changes to find fairer solutions that will make the program more stable for decades to come.
For now, though, we can all be glad the a reprieve from the planned changes seems likely.

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