Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, reached a crucial deal on the important provisions of proposed re-authorization related to flood insurance program. The deal was made with Jeb Hensarling of House Financial Services. The latter is a Republican elected from Texas and holds the post of Chairman in House Financial Services. Scalise is an elected Republican from Jefferson. These are signs of actual progress towards the breaking of a deadlock which has lasted for months.
The primary hearing during the closing days of October was quashed as Hensarling made extensive changes to the text with a number of other lawmakers. The fiscal effect of such proposed legislation will be done by Congressional Budget Office. The latter has raised a number of queries regarding the bill. Hensarling has pushed a number of changes to NFIP. These changes have worried lawmakers from a number of coastal American states including Louisiana. These states are worried that such actions will slash coverage access or even result in premiums being increased for many people living in flood susceptible areas. Such areas are spread over large areas in South Louisiana.
The deal made by Scalise with Hensarling has mellowed a number of proposed changes made by the latter. These modifications will protect homeowners who had suffered any previous flooding of their properties. Hensarling made two extra revisions to the bill. These appear to be concessions provided to Scalise and other lawmakers elected from the United States coast constituencies. The latest public version cancels a proposed rule that goes against the NFIP covering homes valued in excess of one million dollars. It also delays the provision allowing commercial properties located in flood zones to shy away from the program. Both such changes would have subtracted the number of policyholders included in the program. Lobbyists and advocates from Louisiana's southern part have rallied against such a happening.
Vote and objections
The hearing, which was newly rescheduled, is to be held before House Rules Committee. The latter will put such a bill on the line for floor vote during November. There is also an indication that the leadership of the House, including Scalise, holds the belief that they enjoy an adequate number of votes to make it pass. It remains to be seen whether a number of Senators who have incidentally filed their version of flood insurance bills, would pay attention to the Scalise-Hensarling bill. They may as well chug ahead with their own bit of legislation.