The House overwhelmingly passed legislation last night to undo flood insurance reform that Congress passed less than two years ago. When homeowners started calling lawmakers about sharp premium hikes, both chambers moved swiftly to ease the pain.
NPR's Ailsa Chang reports.
AILSA CHNAG, BYLINE: In 2012, Democrat Maxine Waters of California put her name on a bill that was meant to help the National Flood Insurance Program dig itself out of huge debt. Last night, she said she made a big mistake.
Levees, like this one in New Orleans, must be certified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before appearing on federal flood maps. This change has resulted in higher flood insurance premiums in some areas.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Ward Aucoin is facing a sharp jump in his flood insurance premium, due to a 2012 law that may be revised. A crabber to make ends meet, Aucoin lives in Louisiana with his wife and two daughters, Taylor (far right) and Zoe.
There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.
Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.
This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Sen. David Vitter is pushing for a long-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Louisiana Republican wants to stop extending the program with short-term extensions. The insurance program, which provides help for people who are flooded, hasn't been fully reauthorized since 2004. The program is slated to expire at the end of May unless it is extended.
A bill sponsored by Vitter to extend the flood insurance program through 2016 is awaiting a vote before the full Senate.