House delays vote on flood insurance reform bill till next week

 The water crept up on this house in Maurice River Twp. the morning after Superstorm Sandy. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

The water crept up on this house in Maurice River Twp. the morning after Superstorm Sandy. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)

Republican leaders in the House say they want more time before voting on a bill that would delay some flood insurance rate hikes. The Times-Picuayune reports that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will meet Democrats who expressed concern that the House version does not go far enough to keep flood insurance prices down in the near term.

The vote was scheduled for Thursday but is now expected sometime next week.

The Democratically-controlled Senate last month passed a bill that would delay steep increases paid by homeowners for four years. But the House, controlled by Republicans, is less willing to go along because any delay increases federal spending.

Homeowners in high risk flood areas pay artificially lower flood insurance premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program, but in 2012 Congress voted to end the subsidies. The flood program is presently $24 billion in the red, mostly because of huge losses from Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

But its implementation has stirred anxiety among many homeowners in New Jersey and other coastal states who say the dramatic jump in insurance rates is unaffordable.

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The Associated Press’ Andrew Taylor contributed to this report

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