Shelby signals opposition to Landrieu flood insurance language

The language was inserted into the bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). An NFIP reform bill passed last year ordered the remapping of flood zones and a four-year phase-in of actuarial rates for policies currently subsidized by the government. The NFIP is deeply in debt and has required bailouts in the past.

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Shelby said he wants Landrieu to agree to changes to the language so that wealthy homeowners would not be granted the delay. Shelby has leverage because five GOP appropriators voted for the Homeland Security bill in committee on Thursday. That puts the bill close to the 60-vote threshold needed for passage in the Senate.

“Two years ago, the flood insurance program was $18 billion in the red; it is now $24 billion in debt and growing," Shelby said at the markup.  “Delaying the implementation of risk-based premiums means, among other things, that participants in high-risk areas will continue to be subsidized, and the program could slip further into debt."

 “If this bill ever gets consideration on the floor, I would hope that the senator from Louisiana would be willing to put the wealthy and affluent back on the hook for actuarially sound rates," he said. “I would also hope that the Chair would be open to working on language that would require the completion, at a date certain, of the affordability study we put in the original bill."

The DHS spending bill was sent to the floor on a 21-9 vote on Thursday with the NFIP language still intact.