When it comes to herding the 435 cats in the U.S. House of Representatives, a simple majority is often hard to come by these days. Timely passage of most things can be hard. That is why it will be a considerable accomplishment if the Louisiana delegation and the GOP leadership can get a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules and move a much-needed bill on flood insurance rates.
The bill fashioned by intensive negotiations differs in some respects from an earlier Senate-passed measure, but both are intended to provide long-term fixes for the high rate increases mandated by a 2012 law retooling the National Flood Insurance Program.
The NFIP’s cheaper rates have not been sustainable in light of such major losses as hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2010. The storms broke the bank.
But the flawed approach that would have put drastic rate increases into place too quickly should be fixed, and it’s a good thing the House’s GOP leadership has signed on to the notion of significant and permanent fixes for rates. This is not only important to coastal Louisiana but other states, so there is some optimism that the House can be moved to get together on the suspension of the rules.
That is key, and the House bill may even be more favorable to Louisiana’s interests than the original Senate measure. But even if Louisiana lawmakers gain approval of the bill, a conference committee to resolve differences with the Senate will be needed.
“We’ve worked hard to try to get some structural changes in the program” favorable to Louisiana, U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, told editors and reporters of The Advocate.
We commend those involved in these negotiations. Many modest homes would see unaffordable rate increases if existing law is not repealed.