WASHINGTON (Jan. 14, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment today at language included in the omnibus appropriations bill that would delay implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Under an amended version of H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, there would be a one-year delay in implementation of Section 207 of Biggert-Waters, which phases in over a five-period new rates for properties that have been remapped by the National Flood Insurance Program.

The NFIP’s remapping project looks to apply changes in the relative flood risk faced by the NFIP’s 5.5 million policyholders to the rate structure the program charges. The process is budget-neutral, so that while some properties would be asked to pay higher rates, reflecting elevated flood risk, those changes would be offset by rate reductions on the remaining properties.

Though not as damaging as Senate legislation that would delay not just rate adjustments for remapped properties, but also the phase-out of premium subsidies, for a full four years, R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann said the omnibus language would set back the cause of reforming the NFIP, which remains nearly $25 billion in debt to U.S. taxpayers.

“We remain hopeful that efforts to find compromise legislation that, for instance, slows the phase-in and or means-tests support for lower-income policyholders, might be acceptable to everyone,” Lehmann said. “A blanket delay of rate changes is not appropriate and would threaten to undo the significant progress Congress has made to place the NFIP back on a path to fiscal solvency.”

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