By Erik Wasson
The conservative Club for Growth said Friday that it will punish House members who voted for a flood insurance measure aimed at helping pay for Hurricane Sandy’s damage.
The House on Thursday morning approved the $9.7-billion increase in funding for the National Flood Insurance Program. The bill passed easily in a bipartisan 354-67 vote.
It needed a two-thirds vote of the House for approval since it was coming under suspension of rules procedures.
“Congress should not allow the federal government to be involved in the flood insurance industry in the first place, let alone expand the National Flood Insurance Program's authority,” a statement from the Club’s Andy Roth said.
An NFIP reform bill was passed with bipartisan support in the last Congress, but some conservatives believe the program should be ended or slowly curtailed.
Supporters of NFIP say that the private marketplace will not offer flood protection to the public at affordable rates, making a government program necessary.
Flood policies are sold by private insurers who often package the policies with other home coverage. The 2012 NFIP reform bill was supported by the insurance industry.
The flood insurance bill, sponsored by New Jersey conservative Rep. Scott Garrett (R), is the first slice of Sandy aid being allowed to come to the floor in the new Congress.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has committed to allowing a $51 billion tranche to come to the floor when the House returns from recess the week after next. Boehner pulled a $60 billion (in total) bill from the floor late on New Year’s Day, provoking angry outbursts from Northeast lawmakers in his own party, who compared it to a stab in the back.