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Bill to Delay Flood Insurance Rate Hikes Passes U.S. Senate

Delay would only cover primary homeowners, however

A car stuck in a home in the Normandy Beach section of Brick Township, N.J. after Superstorm Sandy. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A car stuck in a home in the Normandy Beach section of Brick Township, N.J. after Superstorm Sandy. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A bill that would delay rate hikes in the National Flood Insurance Program for four years overwhelmingly passed muster with the U.S. Senate on Thursday.

The 67-32 vote on the bill authored by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) would provide relief from potentially massive flood insurance rate increases for Jersey Shore residents. The relief would only be provided to primary residences, however, and must still pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

"This is a triumphant victory for the thousands of New Jersey homeowners who need our help and stood up, spoke out and stuck with me until we took this flood insurance relief bill over the finish line," said Menendez, in a statement.

The delay would allow FEMA to complete an affordability study, provide solutions to mitigate the affect of rate hikes and scientifically certify the accuracy of its maps.

A wave of insurance claims after Hurricane Katrina put the National Flood Insurance Program on the verge of bankruptcy. In 2012, Congress passed a law, known as Biggert-Waters, to restore its solvency. But drastic rate increases mandated by Biggert-Waters are placing a tremendous burden on recovering flood victims, and many Jersey Shore residents have been fearful of losing their homes, since flood insurance is mandated by mortgage companies for homes located in flood zones.

U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), after the Senate vote, called on his party's leaders in the House to post the bill for a vote in that chamber.

Runyan represents most of Ocean County, N.J., one of the nation's hardest-hit areas during Superstorm Sandy, where entire neighborhoods are still largely uninhabitable.

"We are more than a year removed from Superstorm Sandy, but I know for a fact that people are still struggling to rebuild their homes, their businesses, and their lives," Runyan said in a statement. "I urge Speaker Boehner and House leadership to bring this bill to the floor of the House of Representatives so that families in South Jersey are not hit with yet another increase that they cannot afford."
Jeff Smead February 02, 2014 at 07:04 AM
If you are concerned about the huge flood insurance premium increases, Join us online at Stopfemanow.com. We are a very active national group of homeowners fighting for affordable flood insurance, to repeal and delay Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. We have chapters in every state but need you to help us. Get facts, not rumors, come join Stopfemanow.com
Floodgate February 02, 2014 at 08:49 AM
Unfortunately Ray and Suz are an example of the disconnection that people are facing with this epidemic problem . I mean it is highly unlikely that our government used money misappropriation with the flood premiums collected all these years, right? Pay attention if you want to comment . Most just make comments from reading headlines and not researching why this is happening ..But if it makes them feel good ....
suz February 02, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Floodgate...misappropriated funds happens all the time. I just don't think that Christie is behind it in this case. Oh, I do read and watch other sources because the Patch reporters are just liberal sheep following the herd. Are you?
Floodgate February 02, 2014 at 02:03 PM
Nope ,but I am one of the millions about to have the financial burden of misused funds placed on my back . The question wasn't reading other sources but in fact understanding fully what is really happening instead of believing what the government wants everyone to believe .in this case it's to turn us against each other and not toward them .thats what sheep believe. Thanks for lookin.
anonymous February 03, 2014 at 03:03 AM
S.1926 is a band aid. They need to repeal Biggert-waters and find another solution that will Never hurt the people it is supposed to protect.

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