HOMEOWNER FLOOD INSURANCE AFFORDABILITY ACT OF 2014
(House of Representatives - March 04, 2014)

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[Pages H2128-H2139]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          HOMEOWNER FLOOD INSURANCE AFFORDABILITY ACT OF 2014

  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 3370) to delay the implementation of certain provisions of 
the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, and for other 
purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 3370

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Homeowner 
     Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.
Sec. 3. Repeal of certain rate increases.
Sec. 4. Restoration of grandfathered rates.
Sec. 5. Requirements regarding annual rate increases.
Sec. 6. Clarification of rates for properties newly mapped into areas 
              with special flood hazards.
Sec. 7. Premiums and reports.
Sec. 8. Annual premium surcharge.
Sec. 9. Draft affordability framework.
Sec. 10. Risk transfer.
Sec. 11. Monthly installment payment for premiums.
Sec. 12. Optional high-deductible policies for residential properties.
Sec. 13. Exclusion of detached structures from mandatory purchase 
              requirement.
Sec. 14. Accounting for flood mitigation activities in estimates of 
              premium rates.
Sec. 15. Home improvement fairness.
Sec. 16. Affordability study and report.
Sec. 17. Flood insurance rate map certification.
Sec. 18. Funds to reimburse homeowners for successful map appeals.
Sec. 19. Flood protection systems.
Sec. 20. Quarterly reports regarding Reserve Fund ratio.
Sec. 21. Treatment of floodproofed residential basements.
Sec. 22. Exemption from fees for certain map change requests.
Sec. 23. Study of voluntary community-based flood insurance options.
Sec. 24. Designation of flood insurance advocate.
Sec. 25. Exceptions to escrow requirement for flood insurance payments.
Sec. 26. Flood mitigation methods for buildings.
Sec. 27. Mapping of non-structural flood mitigation features.
Sec. 28. Clear communications.
Sec. 29. Protection of small businesses, non-profits, houses of 
              worship, and residences.
Sec. 30. Mapping.
Sec. 31. Disclosure.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       For purposes of this title, the following definitions shall 
     apply:
       (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
     Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
       (2) National flood insurance program.--The term ``National 
     Flood Insurance Program'' means the program established under 
     the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4001 et 
     seq.).

     SEC. 3. REPEAL OF CERTAIN RATE INCREASES.

       (a) Repeal.--
       (1) In general.--Section 1307(g) of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4014(g)) is amended--
       (A) by striking paragraphs (1) and (2);
       (B) in paragraph (3), by striking ``as a result of the 
     deliberate choice of the holder of such policy'' and 
     inserting ``, unless the decision of the policy holder to 
     permit a lapse in flood insurance coverage was as a result of 
     the property covered by the policy no longer being required 
     to retain such coverage'' ; and
       (C) by redesignating paragraphs (3) and (4) as paragraphs 
     (1) and (2), respectively.
       (2) Effective date.--The Administrator shall promulgate 
     such regulations, and make available such rate tables, as 
     necessary to implement the amendments made by paragraph (1) 
     as if it were enacted as part of the Biggert-Waters Flood 
     Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-141; 126 Stat. 
     957).
       (3) Iimplementation, coordination, and guidance.--
       (A) Facilitation of timely refunds.--To ensure the 
     participation of Write Your Own companies (as such term is 
     defined in section 100202(a) of the Biggert-Waters Flood 
     Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4004(a)), the 
     Administrator and the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
     shall consult with Write Your Own companies throughout the 
     development of guidance and rate tables necessary to 
     implement the provisions of and the amendments made by this 
     Act.
       (B) Implementation and guidance.--The Administrator shall 
     issue final guidance and rate tables necessary to implement 
     the provisions of and the amendments made by this Act not 
     later than eight months following the date of the enactment 
     of this Act. Write Your Own companies, in coordination with 
     the Federal Emergency Management Agency, shall have not less 
     than six months but not more than eight months following the 
     issuance of such final guidance and rate tables to implement 
     the changes required by such final guidance and rate tables.
       (4) Refund of excess premium charges collected.--The 
     Administrator shall refund directly to insureds any premiums 
     for flood insurance coverage under the National Flood 
     Insurance Program collected in excess of the rates required 
     under the provisions of and amendments made by this section. 
     To allow for necessary and appropriate implementation of such 
     provisions and amendments, any premium changes necessary to 
     implement such provisions and amendments, including any such 
     premium refund due to policy holders, which shall be paid 
     directly by the National Flood Insurance Program, shall not 
     be charged or paid to policyholders by the National Flood 
     Insurance Program until after the Administrator issues 
     guidance and makes available such rate tables to implement 
     the provisions of and amendments made by this Act.
       (b) Assumption of Policies at Existing Premium Rates.--The 
     Administrator shall provide that the purchaser of a property 
     that, as of the date of such purchase, is covered under an 
     existing flood insurance policy under this title may assume 
     such existing policy and coverage for the remainder of the 
     term of the policy at the chargeable premium rates under such 
     existing policy. Such rates shall continue with respect to 
     such property until the implementation of subsection (a).

     SEC. 4. RESTORATION OF GRANDFATHERED RATES.

       (a) In General.--Section 1308 of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4015) is amended--
       (1) by striking subsection (h); and
       (2) by redesignating subsection (i) as subsection (h).
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) 
     shall take effect as if enacted as part of the Biggert-Waters 
     Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-141; 126 
     Stat. 957).

     SEC. 5. REQUIREMENTS REGARDING ANNUAL RATE INCREASES.

       Section 1308(e) of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4015(e)) is amended--

[[Page H2129]]

       (1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking ``, 
     the chargeable risk premium rates for flood insurance under 
     this title for any properties'';
       (2) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``the chargeable risk 
     premium rates for flood insurance under this title for any 
     properties'' before ``within any'';
       (3) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``the chargeable risk 
     premium rates for flood insurance under this title for any 
     properties'' before ``described in'';
       (4) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2), as so amended, 
     as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and
       (5) by inserting before paragraph (3), as so redesignated, 
     the following new paragraphs:
       ``(1) the chargeable risk premium rate for flood insurance 
     under this title for any property may not be increased by 
     more than 18 percent each year, except--
       ``(A) as provided in paragraph (4);
       ``(B) in the case of property identified under section 
     1307(g); or
       ``(C) in the case of a property that--
       ``(i) is located in a community that has experienced a 
     rating downgrade under the community rating system program 
     carried out under section 1315(b);
       ``(ii) is covered by a policy with respect to which the 
     policyholder has--

       ``(I) decreased the amount of the deductible; or
       ``(II) increased the amount of coverage; or

       ``(iii) was misrated;
       ``(2) the chargeable risk premium rates for flood insurance 
     under this title for any properties initially rated under 
     section 1307(a)(2) within any single risk classification, 
     excluding properties for which the chargeable risk premium 
     rate is not less than the applicable estimated risk premium 
     rate under section 1307(a)(1), shall be increased by an 
     amount that results in an average of such rate increases for 
     properties within the risk classification during any 12-month 
     period of not less than 5 percent of the average of the risk 
     premium rates for such properties within the risk 
     classification upon the commencement of such 12-month 
     period;'';
       (6) in paragraph (3) (as so redesignated by paragraph (4) 
     of this section), by striking ``20 percent'' and inserting 
     ``15 percent''; and
       (7) in paragraph (4) (as so redesignated) by paragraph (4) 
     of this section), by striking ``paragraph (1)'' and inserting 
     ``paragraph (3)''.

     SEC. 6. CLARIFICATION OF RATES FOR PROPERTIES NEWLY MAPPED 
                   INTO AREAS WITH SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARDS.

       Section 1308 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4015), as amended by the preceding provisions of 
     this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(i) Rates for Properties Newly Mapped Into Areas With 
     Special Flood Hazards.--Notwithstanding subsection (f), the 
     premium rate for flood insurance under this title that is 
     purchased on or after the date of the enactment of this 
     subsection--
       ``(1) on a property located in an area not previously 
     designated as having special flood hazards and that, pursuant 
     to any issuance, revision, updating, or other change in a 
     flood insurance map, becomes designated as such an area, and
       ``(2) where such flood insurance premium rate is calculated 
     under subsection (a)(1) of section 1307 (42 U.S.C. 
     4014(a)(1)),
     shall for the first policy year be the preferred risk premium 
     for the property and upon renewal shall be calculated in 
     accordance with subsection (e) of this section until the rate 
     reaches the rate calculated under subsection (a)(1) of 
     section 1307.''.

     SEC. 7. PREMIUMS AND REPORTS.

       Section 1308 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4015), as amended by the preceding provisions of 
     this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(j) Premiums and Reports.--In setting premium risk rates, 
     in addition to striving to achieve the objectives of this 
     title the Administrator shall also strive to minimize the 
     number of policies with annual premiums that exceed one 
     percent of the total coverage provided by the policy. For any 
     policies premiums that exceed this one percent threshold, the 
     Administrator shall report such exceptions to the Committee 
     on Financial Services of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the 
     Senate.''.

     SEC. 8. ANNUAL PREMIUM SURCHARGE.

       (a) Premium Surcharge.--Chapter I of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4011 et seq.) is amended by 
     inserting after section 1308 the following new section:

     ``SEC. 1308A. PREMIUM SURCHARGE.

       ``(a) Imposition and Collection.--The Administrator shall 
     impose and collect an annual surcharge, in the amount 
     provided in subsection (b), on all policies for flood 
     insurance coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program 
     that are newly issued or renewed after the date of the 
     enactment of this section. Such surcharge shall be in 
     addition to the surcharge under section 1304(b) and any other 
     assessments and surcharges applied to such coverage.
       ``(b) Amount.--The amount of the surcharge under subsection 
     (a) shall be--
       ``(1) $25, except as provided in paragraph (2); and
       ``(2) $250, in the case of a policy for any property that 
     is--
       ``(A) a non-residential property; or
       ``(B) a residential property that is not the primary 
     residence of an individual.
       ``(c) Termination.--Subsections (a) and (b) shall cease to 
     apply on the date on which the chargeable risk premium rate 
     for flood insurance under this title for each property 
     covered by flood insurance under this title, other than 
     properties for which premiums are calculated under subsection 
     (e) or (f) of section 1307 or section 1336 of this Act (42 
     U.S.C. 4014, 4056) or under section 100230 of the Biggert-
     Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4014 
     note), is not less than the applicable estimated risk premium 
     rate under section 1307(a)(1) for such property.''.
       (b) Deposit in Reserve Fund.--Subsection (c) of section 
     1310A of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
     4017a) is amended by adding at the end the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(4) Deposit of premium surcharges.--The Administrator 
     shall deposit in the Reserve Fund any surcharges collected 
     pursuant to section 1308A.''.

     SEC. 9. DRAFT AFFORDABILITY FRAMEWORK.

       (a) In General.--The Administrator shall prepare a draft 
     affordability framework that proposes to address, via 
     programmatic and regulatory changes, the issues of 
     affordability of flood insurance sold under the National 
     Flood Insurance Program, including issues identified in the 
     affordability study required under section 100236 of the 
     Bigger-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 
     112-141; 126 Stat. 957).
       (b) Criteria.--In carrying out the requirements under 
     subsection (a), the Administrator shall consider the 
     following criteria:
       (1) Accurate communication to consumers of the flood risk 
     associated with their properties.
       (2) Targeted assistance to flood insurance policy holders 
     based on their financial ability to continue to participate 
     in the National Flood Insurance Program.
       (3) Individual or community actions to mitigate the risk of 
     flood or lower the cost of flood insurance.
       (4) The impact of increases in risk premium rates on 
     participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
       (5) The impact flood insurance rate map updates have on the 
     affordability of flood insurance.
       (c) Deadline for Submission.--Not later than 18 months 
     after the date on which the Administrator submits the 
     affordability study referred to in subsection (a), the 
     Administrator shall submit to the full Committee on Banking, 
     Housing, and Urban Affairs and the full Committee on 
     Appropriations of the Senate and the full Committee on 
     Financial Services and the full Committee on Appropriations 
     of the House of Representatives the draft affordability 
     framework required under subsection (a).
       (d) Interagency Agreements.--The Administrator may enter 
     into an agreement with another Federal agency to--
       (1) complete the affordability study referred to in 
     subsection (a); or
       (2) prepare the draft affordability framework required 
     under subsection (a).
       (e) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
     construed to provide the Administrator with the authority to 
     provide assistance to homeowners based on affordability that 
     was not available prior to the enactment of the Biggert-
     Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-
     141; 126 Stat. 916).

     SEC. 10. RISK TRANSFER.

       Section 1345 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4081) is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(e) Risk Transfer.--The Administrator may secure 
     reinsurance of coverage provided by the flood insurance 
     program from the private reinsurance and capital markets at 
     rates and on terms determined by the Administrator to be 
     reasonable and appropriate, in an amount sufficient to 
     maintain the ability of the program to pay claims.''.

     SEC. 11. MONTHLY INSTALLMENT PAYMENT FOR PREMIUMS.

       (a) In General.--Subsection (g) of section 1308 of the 
     National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4015(g)) is 
     amended by striking ``either annually or in more frequent 
     installments'' and inserting ``annually or monthly''.
       (b) Implementation.--The Administrator shall implement the 
     requirement under section 1308(g) of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968, as amended by subsection (a), not 
     later than the expiration of the 18-month period beginning on 
     the date of the enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 12. OPTIONAL HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE POLICIES FOR RESIDENTIAL 
                   PROPERTIES.

       Section 1306 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4013)), as amended by the preceding provisions of 
     this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(e) Optional High-deductible Policies for Residential 
     Properties.--
       ``(1) Availability.--In the case of residential properties, 
     the Administrator shall make flood insurance coverage 
     available, at the option of the insured, that provides for a 
     loss-deductible for damage to the covered property in various 
     amounts, up to and including $10,000.
       ``(2) Disclosure.--
       ``(A) Form.--The Administrator shall provide the 
     information described in subparagraph (B) clearly and 
     conspicuously on the application form for flood insurance 
     coverage or on a separate form, segregated from

[[Page H2130]]

     all unrelated information and other required disclosures.
       ``(B) Information.--The information described in this 
     subparagraph is--
       ``(i) information sufficient to inform the applicant of the 
     availability of the coverage option required by paragraph (1) 
     to applicants for flood insurance coverage; and
       ``(ii) a statement explaining the effect of a loss-
     deductible and that, in the event of an insured loss, the 
     insured is responsible out-of-pocket for losses to the extent 
     of the deductible selected.''.

     SEC. 13. EXCLUSION OF DETACHED STRUCTURES FROM MANDATORY 
                   PURCHASE REQUIREMENT.

       (a) Exclusion.--Subsection (c) of section 102 of the Flood 
     Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 4012a(c)) is 
     amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(3) Detached structures.--Notwithstanding any other 
     provision of this section, flood insurance shall not be 
     required, in the case of any residential property, for any 
     structure that is a part of such property but is detached 
     from the primary residential structure of such property and 
     does not serve as a residence.''.
       (b) RESPA Statement.--Section 5(b) of the Real Estate 
     Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (12 U.S.C. 2604(b)) is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (14), by inserting before the period at 
     the end the following: ``, and the following statement: 
     `Although you may not be required to maintain flood insurance 
     on all structures, you may still wish to do so, and your 
     mortgage lender may still require you to do so to protect the 
     collateral securing the mortgage. If you choose to not 
     maintain flood insurance on a structure, and it floods, you 
     are responsible for all flood losses relating to that 
     structure.' ''; and
       (2) by transferring and inserting paragraph (14), as so 
     amended, after paragraph (13).

     SEC. 14. ACCOUNTING FOR FLOOD MITIGATION ACTIVITIES IN 
                   ESTIMATES OF PREMIUM RATES.

       Subparagraph (A) of section 1307(a)(1) of the National 
     Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4014(a)(1)(A)) is 
     amended to read as follows:
       ``(A) based on consideration of--
       ``(i) the risk involved and accepted actuarial principles; 
     and
       ``(ii) the flood mitigation activities that an owner or 
     lessee has undertaken on a property, including differences in 
     the risk involved due to land use measures, floodproofing, 
     flood forecasting, and similar measures,''.

     SEC. 15. HOME IMPROVEMENT FAIRNESS.

       Section 1307(a)(2)(E)(ii) of the National Flood Insurance 
     Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4014(a)(2)(E)(ii)) is amended by 
     striking ``30 percent'' and inserting ``50 percent''.

     SEC. 16. AFFORDABILITY STUDY AND REPORT.

       (a) Study Issues.--Subsection (a) of section 100236 of the 
     Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 
     112-141; 126 Stat. 957) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting a semicolon; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
       ``(5) options for maintaining affordability if annual 
     premiums for flood insurance coverage were to increase to an 
     amount greater than 2 percent of the liability coverage 
     amount under the policy, including options for enhanced 
     mitigation assistance and means-tested assistance;
       ``(6) the effects that the establishment of catastrophe 
     savings accounts would have regarding long-term affordability 
     of flood insurance coverage; and
       ``(7) options for modifying the surcharge under 1308A, 
     including based on homeowner income, property value or risk 
     of loss.''.
       (b) Timing of Submission.--Notwithstanding the deadline 
     under section 100236(c) of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance 
     Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-141; 126 Stat. 957), not 
     later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, 
     the Administrator shall submit to the full Committee on 
     Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the full Committee on 
     Appropriations of the Senate and the full Committee on 
     Financial Services and the full Committee on Appropriations 
     of the House of Representatives the affordability study and 
     report required under such section 100236.
       (c) Affordability Study Funding.--Section 100236(d) of the 
     Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 
     112-141; 126 Stat. 957) is amended by striking ``$750,000'' 
     and inserting ``$2,500,000''.

     SEC. 17. FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP CERTIFICATION.

       The Administrator shall implement a flood mapping program 
     for the National Flood Insurance Program, only after review 
     by the Technical Mapping Advisory Council, that, when 
     applied, results in technically credible flood hazard data in 
     all areas where Flood Insurance Rate Maps are prepared or 
     updated, shall certify in writing to the Congress when such a 
     program has been implemented, and shall provide to the 
     Congress the Technical Mapping Advisory Council review 
     report.

     SEC. 18. FUNDS TO REIMBURSE HOMEOWNERS FOR SUCCESSFUL MAP 
                   APPEALS.

       (a) In General.--Section 1363(f) of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4104(f)) is amended--
       (1) in the first sentence, by inserting after ``as the case 
     may be,'' the following: ``or, in the case of an appeal that 
     is resolved by submission of conflicting data to the 
     Scientific Resolution Panel provided for in section 1363A, 
     the community,''; and
       (2) by striking the second sentence and inserting the 
     following: ``The Administrator may use such amounts from the 
     National Flood Insurance Fund established under section 1310 
     as may be necessary to carry out this subsection.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendments.--Section 1310(a) of the National 
     Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4017(a)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (6), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting ``; and''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(8) for carrying out section 1363(f).''.

     SEC. 19. FLOOD PROTECTION SYSTEMS.

       (a) Adequate Progress on Construction of Flood Protection 
     Systems.--Section 1307(e) of the National Flood Insurance Act 
     of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4014(e)) is amended--
       (1) in the first sentence, by inserting ``or 
     reconstruction'' after ``construction'';
       (2) by amending the second sentence to read as follows: 
     ``The Administrator shall find that adequate progress on the 
     construction or reconstruction of a flood protection system, 
     based on the present value of the completed flood protection 
     system, has been made only if (1) 100 percent of the cost of 
     the system has been authorized, (2) at least 60 percent of 
     the cost of the system has been appropriated, (3) at least 50 
     percent of the cost of the system has been expended, and (4) 
     the system is at least 50 percent completed.''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following: ``Notwithstanding 
     any other provision of law, in determining whether a 
     community has made adequate progress on the construction, 
     reconstruction, or improvement of a flood protection system, 
     the Administrator shall consider all sources of funding, 
     including Federal, State, and local funds.''.
       (b) Communities Restoring Disaccredited Flood Protection 
     Systems.--Section 1307(f) of the National Flood Insurance Act 
     of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4014(f)) is amended by amending the first 
     sentence to read as follows: ``Notwithstanding any other 
     provision of law, this subsection shall apply to riverine and 
     coastal levees that are located in a community which has been 
     determined by the Administrator of the Federal Emergency 
     Management Agency to be in the process of restoring flood 
     protection afforded by a flood protection system that had 
     been previously accredited on a Flood Insurance Rate Map as 
     providing 100-year frequency flood protection but no longer 
     does so, and shall apply without regard to the level of 
     Federal funding of or participation in the construction, 
     reconstruction, or improvement of the flood protection 
     system.''.

     SEC. 20. QUARTERLY REPORTS REGARDING RESERVE FUND RATIO.

       Subsection (e) of section 1310A of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4017a) is amended, in the 
     matter preceding paragraph (1), by inserting ``, on a 
     calendar quarterly basis,'' after ``submit''.

     SEC. 21. TREATMENT OF FLOODPROOFED RESIDENTIAL BASEMENTS.

       The Administrator shall continue to extend exceptions and 
     variances for flood-proofed basements consistent with section 
     60.6 of title 44, Code of Federal Regulations, which are 
     effective April 3, 2009; and section 60.3 of such title, 
     which are effective April 3, 2009.

     SEC. 22. EXEMPTION FROM FEES FOR CERTAIN MAP CHANGE REQUESTS.

       Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a requester 
     shall be exempt from submitting a review or processing fee 
     for a request for a flood insurance rate map change based on 
     a habitat restoration project that is funded in whole or in 
     part with Federal or State funds, including dam removal, 
     culvert redesign or installation, or the installation of fish 
     passage.

     SEC. 23. STUDY OF VOLUNTARY COMMUNITY-BASED FLOOD INSURANCE 
                   OPTIONS.

       (a) Study.--
       (1) Study required.--The Administrator shall conduct a 
     study to assess options, methods, and strategies for making 
     available voluntary community-based flood insurance policies 
     through the National Flood Insurance Program.
       (2) Considerations.--The study conducted under paragraph 
     (1) shall--
       (A) take into consideration and analyze how voluntary 
     community-based flood insurance policies--
       (i) would affect communities having varying economic bases, 
     geographic locations, flood hazard characteristics or 
     classifications, and flood management approaches; and
       (ii) could satisfy the applicable requirements under 
     section 102 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 
     U.S.C. 4012a); and
       (B) evaluate the advisability of making available voluntary 
     community-based flood insurance policies to communities, 
     subdivisions of communities, and areas of residual risk.
       (3) Consultation.--In conducting the study required under 
     paragraph (1), the Administrator may consult with the 
     Comptroller General of the United States, as the 
     Administrator determines is appropriate.
       (b) Report by the Administrator.--
       (1) Report required.--Not later than 18 months after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit 
     to the

[[Page H2131]]

     Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the 
     Senate and the Committee on Financial Services of the House 
     of Representatives a report that contains the results and 
     conclusions of the study conducted under subsection (a).
       (2) Contents.--The report submitted under paragraph (1) 
     shall include recommendations for--
       (A) the best manner to incorporate voluntary community-
     based flood insurance policies into the National Flood 
     Insurance Program; and
       (B) a strategy to implement voluntary community-based flood 
     insurance policies that would encourage communities to 
     undertake flood mitigation activities, including the 
     construction, reconstruction, or improvement of levees, dams, 
     or other flood control structures.
       (c) Report by Comptroller General.--Not later than 6 months 
     after the date on which the Administrator submits the report 
     required under subsection (b), the Comptroller General of the 
     United States shall--
       (1) review the report submitted by the Administrator; and
       (2) submit to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban 
     Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Financial Services 
     of the House of Representatives a report that contains--
       (A) an analysis of the report submitted by the 
     Administrator;
       (B) any comments or recommendations of the Comptroller 
     General relating to the report submitted by the 
     Administrator; and
       (C) any other recommendations of the Comptroller General 
     relating to community-based flood insurance policies.

     SEC. 24. DESIGNATION OF FLOOD INSURANCE ADVOCATE.

       (a) In General.--The Administrator shall designate a Flood 
     Insurance Advocate to advocate for the fair treatment of 
     policy holders under the National Flood Insurance Program and 
     property owners in the mapping of flood hazards, the 
     identification of risks from flood, and the implementation of 
     measures to minimize the risk of flood.
       (b) Duties and Responsibilities.--The duties and 
     responsibilities of the Flood Insurance Advocate designated 
     under subsection (a) shall be to--
       (1) educate property owners and policyholders under the 
     National Flood Insurance Program on--
       (A) individual flood risks;
       (B) flood mitigation;
       (C) measures to reduce flood insurance rates through 
     effective mitigation;
       (D) the flood insurance rate map review and amendment 
     process; and
       (E) any changes in the flood insurance program as a result 
     of any newly enacted laws (including this Act);
       (2) assist policy holders under the National Flood 
     Insurance Program and property owners to understand the 
     procedural requirements related to appealing preliminary 
     flood insurance rate maps and implementing measures to 
     mitigate evolving flood risks;
       (3) assist in the development of regional capacity to 
     respond to individual constituent concerns about flood 
     insurance rate map amendments and revisions;
       (4) coordinate outreach and education with local officials 
     and community leaders in areas impacted by proposed flood 
     insurance rate map amendments and revisions; and
       (5) aid potential policy holders under the National Flood 
     Insurance Program in obtaining and verifying accurate and 
     reliable flood insurance rate information when purchasing or 
     renewing a flood insurance policy.

     SEC. 25. EXCEPTIONS TO ESCROW REQUIREMENT FOR FLOOD INSURANCE 
                   PAYMENTS.

       (a) In General.--Section 102(d)(1) of the Flood Disaster 
     Protection Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 4012a(d)(1)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (A), in the second sentence, by 
     striking ``subparagraph (C)'' and inserting ``subparagraph 
     (B)''; and
       (2) in subparagraph (B)--
       (A) in clause (ii), by redesignating subclauses (I) and 
     (II) as items (aa) and (bb), respectively, and adjusting the 
     margins accordingly;
       (B) by redesignating clauses (i) and (ii) as subclauses (I) 
     and (II), respectively, and adjusting the margins 
     accordingly;
       (C) in the matter preceding subclause (I), as redesignated 
     by subparagraph (B), by striking ``(A) or (B), if--'' and 
     inserting the following: ``(A)--
       ``(i) if--'';
       (D) by striking the period at the end and inserting ``; 
     or''; and
       (E) by adding at the end the following
       ``(ii) in the case of a loan that--

       ``(I) is in a junior or subordinate position to a senior 
     lien secured by the same residential improved real estate or 
     mobile home for which flood insurance is being provided at 
     the time of the origination of the loan;
       ``(II) is secured by residential improved real estate or a 
     mobile home that is part of a condominium, cooperative, or 
     other project development, if the residential improved real 
     estate or mobile home is covered by a flood insurance policy 
     that--

       ``(aa) meets the requirements that the regulated lending 
     institution is required to enforce under subsection (b)(1);
       ``(bb) is provided by the condominium association, 
     cooperative, homeowners association, or other applicable 
     group; and
       ``(cc) the premium for which is paid by the condominium 
     association, cooperative, homeowners association, or other 
     applicable group as a common expense;

       ``(III) is secured by residential improved real estate or a 
     mobile home that is used as collateral for a business 
     purpose;
       ``(IV) is a home equity line of credit;
       ``(V) is a nonperforming loan; or
       ``(VI) has a term of not longer than 12 months.''.

       (b) Applicability.--
       (1) In general.--
       (A) Required application.--The amendments to section 
     102(d)(1) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 
     U.S.C. 4012a(d)(1)) made by section 100209(a) of the Biggert-
     Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-
     141; 126 Stat. 920) and by subsection (a) of this section 
     shall apply to any loan that is originated, refinanced, 
     increased, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2016.
       (B) Optional application.--
       (i) Definitions.--In this subparagraph--

       (I) the terms ``Federal entity for lending regulation'', 
     ``improved real estate'', ``regulated lending institution'', 
     and ``servicer'' have the meanings given the terms in section 
     3 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 
     4003);
       (II) the term ``outstanding loan'' means a loan that--

       (aa) is outstanding as of January 1, 2016;
       (bb) is not subject to the requirement to escrow premiums 
     and fees for flood insurance under section 102(d)(1) of the 
     Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 4012a(d)(1)) 
     as in effect on July 5, 2012; and
       (cc) would, if the loan had been originated, refinanced, 
     increased, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2016, 
     be subject to the requirements under section 102(d)(1)(A) of 
     the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended; and

       (III) the term ``section 102(d)(1)(A) of the Flood Disaster 
     Protection Act of 1973, as amended'' means section 
     102(d)(1)(A) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 
     U.S.C. 4012a(d)(1)(A)), as amended by--

       (aa) section 100209(a) of the Biggert-Waters Flood 
     Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-141; 126 Stat. 
     920); and
       (bb) subsection (a) of this section.
       (ii) Option to escrow flood insurance payments.--Each 
     Federal entity for lending regulation (after consultation and 
     coordination with the Federal Financial Institutions 
     Examination Council) shall, by regulation, direct that each 
     regulated lending institution or servicer of an outstanding 
     loan shall offer and make available to a borrower the option 
     to have the borrower's payment of premiums and fees for flood 
     insurance under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 
     U.S.C. 4001 et seq.), including the escrow of such payments, 
     be treated in the same manner provided under section 
     102(d)(1)(A) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as 
     amended.
       (2) Repeal of 2-year delay on applicability.--Subsection 
     (b) of section 100209 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance 
     Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-141; 126 Stat. 920) is 
     repealed.
       (3) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this section or the 
     amendments made by this section shall be construed to 
     supersede, during the period beginning on July 6, 2012 and 
     ending on December 31, 2015, the requirements under section 
     102(d)(1) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (42 
     U.S.C. 4012a(d)(1)), as in effect on July 5, 2012.

     SEC. 26. FLOOD MITIGATION METHODS FOR BUILDINGS.

       (a) Guidelines.--
       (1) In general.--Section 1361 of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4102) is amended by adding 
     at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(d) Flood Mitigation Methods for Buildings.--The 
     Administrator shall establish guidelines for property owners 
     that--
       ``(1) provide alternative methods of mitigation, other than 
     building elevation, to reduce flood risk to residential 
     buildings that cannot be elevated due to their structural 
     characteristics, including--
       ``(A) types of building materials; and
       ``(B) types of floodproofing; and
       ``(2) inform property owners about how the implementation 
     of mitigation methods described in paragraph (1) may affect 
     risk premium rates for flood insurance coverage under the 
     National Flood Insurance Program.''.
       (2) Issuance.--The Administrator shall issue the guidelines 
     required under section 1361(d) of the National Flood 
     Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4102(d)), as added by the 
     amendment made by paragraph (1) of this subsection, not later 
     than the expiration of the 1-year period beginning on the 
     date of the enactment of this Act.
       (b) Calculation of Risk Premium Rates.--Section 1308 of the 
     National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4015), as 
     amended by the preceding provisions of this Act, is further 
     amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(k) Consideration of Mitigation Methods.--In calculating 
     the risk premium rate charged for flood insurance for a 
     property under this section, the Administrator shall take 
     into account the implementation of any mitigation method 
     identified by the Administrator in the guidance issued under 
     section 1361(d) (42 U.S.C. 4102(d)).''.

     SEC. 27. MAPPING OF NON-STRUCTURAL FLOOD MITIGATION FEATURES.

        Section 100216 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance 
     Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4101b) is amended--

[[Page H2132]]

       (1) in subsection (b)(1)(A)--
       (A) in clause (iv), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) by redesignating clause (v) as clause (vi);
       (C) by inserting after clause (iv) the following new 
     clause:
       ``(v) areas that are protected by non-structural flood 
     mitigation features; and''; and
       (D) in clause (vi) (as so redesignated), by inserting 
     before the semicolon at the end the following: ``and by non-
     structural flood mitigation features''; and
       (2) in subsection (d)(1)--
       (A) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (C) as 
     subparagraphs (B) through (D), respectively;
       (B) in subparagraph (C) (as so redesignated), by striking 
     ``subparagraph (A)'' and inserting ``subparagraph (B)''; and
       (C) by inserting before subparagraph (B) (as so 
     redesignated) the following new subparagraph:
       ``(A) work with States, local communities, and property 
     owners to identify areas and features described in subsection 
     (b)(1)(A)(v);''.

     SEC. 28. CLEAR COMMUNICATIONS.

       Section 1308 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4015), as amended by the preceding provisions of 
     this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(l) Clear Communications.--The Administrator shall 
     clearly communicate full flood risk determinations to 
     individual property owners regardless of whether their 
     premium rates are full actuarial rates.''.

     SEC. 29. PROTECTION OF SMALL BUSINESSES, NON-PROFITS, HOUSES 
                   OF WORSHIP, AND RESIDENCES.

       Section 1308 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 
     (42 U.S.C. 4015), as amended by the preceding provisions of 
     this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following new subsection:
       ``(m) Protection of Small Businesses, Non-profits, Houses 
     of Worship, and Residences.--
       ``(1) Report.--Not later than 18 months after the date of 
     the enactment of this section and semiannually thereafter, 
     the Administrator shall monitor and report to Committee on 
     Financial Services of the House Representatives and the 
     Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the 
     Senate, the Administrator's assessment of the impact, if any, 
     of the rate increases required under subparagraphs (A) and 
     (D) of section 1307(a)(2) and the surcharges required under 
     section 1308A on the affordability of flood insurance for--
       ``(A) small businesses with less than 100 employees;
       ``(B) non-profit entities;
       ``(C) houses of worship; and
       ``(D) residences with a value equal to or less than 25 
     percent of the median home value of properties in the State 
     in which the property is located.
       ``(2) Recommendations.--If the Administrator determines 
     that the rate increases or surcharges described in paragraph 
     (1) are having a detrimental effect on affordability, 
     including resulting in lapsed policies, late payments, or 
     other criteria related to affordability as identified by the 
     Administrator, for any of the properties identified in 
     subparagraphs (A) through (D) of such paragraph, the 
     Administrator shall, not later than 3 months after making 
     such a determination, make such recommendations as the 
     Administrator considers appropriate to improve affordability 
     to the Committee on Financial Services of the House 
     Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and 
     Urban Affairs of the Senate.''.

     SEC. 30. MAPPING.

       Section 100216(d)(1) of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance 
     Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4101b(d)(1)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (B)--
       (A) by striking ``subparagraph (A)'' and inserting 
     ``subparagraph (D)''; and
       (B) by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) by redesignating subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) as 
     subparagraphs (D), (E), and (G), respectively;
       (3) by inserting before subparagraph (B), as so 
     redesignated, the following new subparagraphs:
       ``(A) before commencement of any mapping or map updating 
     process, notify each community affected of the model or 
     models that the Administrator plans to use in such process 
     and provide an explanation of why such model or models are 
     appropriate;
       ``(B) provide each community affected a 30-day period 
     beginning upon notification under subparagraph (A) to consult 
     with the Administrator regarding the appropriateness, with 
     respect to such community, of the mapping model or models to 
     be used; provided that consultation by a community pursuant 
     to this subparagraph shall not waive or otherwise affect any 
     right of the community to appeal any flood hazard 
     determinations;
       ``(C) upon completion of the first Independent Data 
     Submission, transmit a copy of such Submission to the 
     affected community, provide the affected community a 30-day 
     period during which the community may provide data to 
     Administrator that can be used to supplement or modify the 
     existing data, and incorporate any data that is consistent 
     with prevailing engineering principles;''; and
       (4) by inserting after subparagraph (E), as so 
     redesignated, the following new subparagraph:
       ``(F) not less than 30 days before issuance of any 
     preliminary map, notify the Senators for each State affected 
     and each Member of the House of Representatives for each 
     congressional district affected by the preliminary map in 
     writing of--
       ``(i) the estimated schedule for--

       ``(I) community meetings regarding the preliminary map;
       ``(II) publication of notices regarding the preliminary map 
     in local newspapers; and
       ``(III) the commencement of the appeals process regarding 
     the map; and

       ``(ii) the estimated number of homes and businesses that 
     will be affected by changes contained in the preliminary map, 
     including how many structures will be that were not 
     previously located in an area having special flood hazards 
     will be located within such an area under the preliminary 
     map; and''.

     SEC. 31. DISCLOSURE.

       (a) Changes in Rates Resulting From This Act.--Not later 
     than the date that is 6 months before the date on which any 
     change in risk premium rates for flood insurance coverage 
     under the National Flood Insurance Program resulting from 
     this Act or any amendment made by this Act is implemented, 
     the Administrator shall make publicly available the rate 
     tables and underwriting guidelines that provide the basis for 
     the change.
       (b) Report on Policy and Claims Data.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the 
     Congress a report on the feasibility of--
       (A) releasing property-level policy and claims data for 
     flood insurance coverage under the National Flood Insurance 
     Program; and
       (B) establishing guidelines for releasing property-level 
     policy and claims data for flood insurance coverage under the 
     National Flood Insurance Program in accordance with section 
     552a of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the 
     Privacy Act of 1974).
       (2) Contents.--The report submitted under paragraph (1) 
     shall include--
       (A) an analysis and assessment of how releasing property-
     level policy and claims data for flood insurance coverage 
     under the National Flood Insurance Program will aid policy 
     holders and insurers to understand how the Administration 
     determines actuarial premium rates and assesses flood risks; 
     and
       (B) recommendations for protecting personal information in 
     accordance with section 552a of title 5, United States Code 
     (commonly known as the Privacy Act of 1974).

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
West Virginia (Mrs. Capito) and the gentlewoman from California (Ms. 
Waters) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from West Virginia.


                             General Leave

  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks and submit extraneous materials for the Record on H.R. 3370, as 
amended, currently under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from West Virginia?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Homeowner Flood 
Insurance Affordability Act.
  Last Congress, overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, 
including all of my colleagues from West Virginia, voted for the 
passage of Biggert-Waters. There was near unanimous agreement that 
significant reforms were needed for the program, but when the new flood 
insurance rates were published last fall, I began to hear from, and met 
with, many West Virginians who were shocked by the increases in their 
flood insurance bills that had far exceeded the worst-case scenario in 
CBO's projection. In some cases, their only choice was to spend their 
life's savings on their flood insurance bills or walk away from their 
house, ruining their credit.
  The bill before us today will make sure the people who purchased a 
home after the passage of Biggert-Waters, only to see their premiums 
skyrocket, can stay in their homes. Under this bill, homeowners will 
see their premiums rise towards an actuarially sound rate, but on a 
path that is much more affordable.
  Additionally, we are taking steps to fix some of the mapping issues 
in the flood program. Many of my constituents have told me that they 
are in a Special Flood Hazard Area, despite no evidence of the area 
ever flooding. These two issues address the core problems of the flood 
insurance program: unaffordable rates and incorrect mapping.
  There is no question that the NFIP is broken. We need to take steps 
to put it

[[Page H2133]]

on solid financial footing, but immediately hitting people with 
crushing increases in their premiums just because they bought a new 
home is not the way to do it, and that was never the original intent of 
Biggert-Waters.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3307, the Homeowner Flood 
Insurance Affordability Act.
  Today, I am pleased to lead the Democratic Party in delivering this 
message to the thousands of Americans who are facing unaffordable flood 
insurance premiums: relief is on the way.
  As we committed to many months ago, Democrats have worked to fix this 
problem from the moment we heard about the unintended consequences of 
the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
  Mr. Speaker, because I am the Waters of the Biggert-Waters Flood 
Insurance Reform Act, I felt a responsibility to make sure that we deal 
with the concerns that were coming to us from our constituents all over 
this country. The rate increases were unimaginable. So Democratic 
lawmakers in the House and the Senate took action, spearheading 
bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate and garnered the support 
of a majority of the House of Representatives.
  Today, we have worked in good faith with Republican leadership to 
achieve a measure that isn't perfect but that will provide real relief 
to the thousands of families currently facing unaffordable premiums.
  I believe this House measure strikes an important balance, addressing 
affordability concerns, bringing accountability to FEMA, and protecting 
the stability of the National Flood Insurance Program. The legislation 
ends dramatic increases caused by events such as property sales and 
restores grandfathered rates for those who played by the rules and 
built their properties according to code.
  For families hit by unaffordable premium increases, this bill 
provides important relief in the form of a refund.
  I am proud of the dramatic improvements to this bill that were made 
by the Democratic Caucus. These include reasonable limitations on rate 
increases that one property can experience, including those newly 
mapped into flood zones. We have ensured that when FEMA engages in the 
process of remapping, it actually works with communities to make sure 
it is being done accurately. We have made FEMA more accountable by 
requiring it provide clear and accurate information to anyone who may 
be affected by a change in policy.

  Mr. Speaker, this bill would not have come together without strong 
support and participation from the Democratic Party. I would like to 
thank Leader Pelosi and Whip Hoyer, as well as Senator Mary Landrieu 
and Representative Cedric Richmond for their leadership, and the 
leadership of so many Democratic Members across the country, which was 
critical to taking this bill over the finish line. I applaud them. I 
strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  Let me just say a word of thanks to someone very special on this, Mr. 
Eric Cantor, who weighed in and did everything possible to work this 
out in a way that we could all be comfortable with. I am pleased for 
the opportunity I have had to work with him. I also thank Mr. Grimm. We 
started this out when others believed that we could not do anything 
about it. Having said all of that, we have come together to do 
something good for the people of this country.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Grimm), the author of this legislation and someone without 
whose hard work we wouldn't be here today.
  Mr. GRIMM. Thank you, Chairwoman.
  Mr. Speaker, it is almost surreal standing here right now. I almost 
don't believe that I am about to vote on something that I promised my 
constituents. It is surreal because I am standing here about to do 
something that was the reason I ran for Congress--to be able to lead on 
an issue and solve a problem and come home and tell people we actually 
got something done that is going to change your life for the better.
  I have to say a special thank you to Maxine Waters, the ranking 
member, whom I worked with from the beginning; my dear friend, Gregory 
Meeks; Cedric Richmond; and Congressman Cassidy, who helped me write 
this bill. Without him, I could not have gotten this done. Frank 
LoBiondo has been tremendous, as well as Congressman Palazzo. Eric 
Cantor has been an absolute champion on this issue.
  I just have to say this is truly a collaborative effort.

                              {time}  1730

  You cannot have a more bipartisan bill. At a time when there has been 
gridlock and gamesmanship, we have come together to deal with a very, 
very important issue because it goes to the heart of what we are here 
to do: make people's lives a little bit better.
  So I just want to say thank you to so many that worked so hard, and I 
will leave the rest of the time for those of my colleagues to explain 
some particulars of the bill. Again, thank you so much.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Meeks) who has worked so hard on this bill, who serves on the 
Financial Services Committee and has been intimately involved with it.
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, let me first thank Ranking Member Waters and 
my good friend, Michael Grimm, for working collectively to make this 
bill happen.
  You see, it was just 17 months ago that residents in my congressional 
district, the Fifth Congressional District of New York, and others 
throughout America were devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Little did they 
know then that they were about to be hit by another storm.
  Then came FEMA with astronomical rate increases to their flood 
insurance program. Two strikes in the midst of severe recession, and 
many of them were out.
  This bill, today, once we pass it, and once the Senate passes it, it 
will finally give relief to individuals who were wondering what they 
were going to do, many whom had to pay already these astronomical 
rates. Help is on its way. You will get reimbursed.
  Many who did not know what the values of their property would be and, 
if they choose down the road to sell it, whether they would be able to 
do it. Help is on its way. This bill fixes that.
  I congratulate both sides.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Hensarling), the chairman of the full committee.
  Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Speaker, our Nation is, tragically, going broke. 
Our national debt, which has skyrocketed under this President, is 
clearly, by any measure, on a dangerous and unsustainable path, a path 
that, if unaltered, will leave our children with less freedom, fewer 
opportunities, and a lower standard of living. That is beyond unfair. 
That is immoral.
  One reason America is going broke is because of poorly designed and 
costly government-run insurance programs. The National Flood Insurance 
Program is one such program.
  Its chief administrator has already testified that ``the NFIP was, by 
statute and design, not actuarially sound.'' In fact, the program 
charges only 70 percent of what its administrators believe they 
actually need. Perhaps that is why the program is currently $24 billion 
in the red to taxpayers and has no way to ever repay them.
  The NFIP is not financially sound because pretty much every 
policyholder receives taxpayer subsidies. Some get explicit subsidies 
because the law prohibits the program from charging a full and fair 
rate based upon their calculated actuarial risk.
  Others receive implicit subsidies because, according to the GAO, the 
program uses a faulty model that under-measures flood risk.
  At the end of the day, the program forces roughly 96 percent of all 
Americans to subsidize the remaining 4 percent, regardless of income or 
need. That means a single mom in Dallas, where I live, who is working 
hard as a cashier at the Albertsons grocery store may be forced to 
subsidize the flood insurance for some millionaire's beachfront 
vacation home. If that is not the definition of unfair, I don't know 
what is.

[[Page H2134]]

  To its credit, in 2012, Congress recognized that the government-run 
flood insurance program was fundamentally broken and unfair. We passed, 
almost unanimously, the Biggert-Waters Act. It phases out most of the 
explicit subsidies over the next few years and requires rates to be 
more closely based on a property's actuarial degree of flood risk.
  Now, the first premiums under Biggert-Waters are starting to come 
due. There is sticker shock, some based on fact, some based on fear.
  Clearly, there are many, many, across our Nation who have been 
unaware of their taxpayer-funded subsidies. There are some who simply 
can't afford the new premiums, and others who are now having trouble 
attempting to sell their homes.
  This should be addressed by Congress, and that is why, over the last 
8 weeks, Chairman Neugebauer and myself have put four different plans 
on the tables for Members who approached us about making modifications 
to the Biggert-Waters Act.
  We agreed to go slower on reforms and to temporarily cap payments as 
long as the program would eventually require all property owners to pay 
the fair amount that they owe and, overall, the program would begin to 
bring in more income so taxpayers could avoid yet another bailout.
  Regrettably, that is not the approach we are debating today. The 
House bill before us, although technically PAYGO compliant, would 
postpone actuarially sound rates for perhaps a generation. It would 
kill off a key element of risk-based pricing permanently, which is 
necessary if we are to ever transition to market competition.
  Finally, it creates brand new subsidies for a program that is already 
bailout broke.
  Mr. Speaker, the Senate bill isn't any better. It essentially 
represents a 4-year freeze that is not PAYGO compliant. My fear is that 
either bill represents a big step backwards from reform and leaves us 
just a few hurricanes or a few short years away from the next taxpayer 
bailout.
  Either bill will make it incredibly difficult to do what Congress 
must do, and that is phase out this unneeded, government-run insurance 
program that fundamentally represents both an unfair and unsustainable 
middle-income entitlement.
  I respect my colleagues who have a different view. I respect my 
leadership for bringing a bill that may not be optimum to the floor.

  But, Mr. Speaker, if we don't protect taxpayers today, how will we 
ever reform the gargantuan middle-income entitlements that put us on 
the precipice of a debt crisis?
  I, for one, will vote ``no'' on this well-intended but misguided 
bill.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Louisiana (Mr. Richmond), one of the coauthors of the bill that we put 
together to deal with this issue who has been working very hard on it.
  Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Speaker, I thank Ranking Member Waters, and thank 
you to the Republican leadership who brought this up.
  We often hear in this Chamber over and over again a talk of a 
financial bankruptcy that is plaguing or potentially plaguing our 
country, and we say it so much so that we start to believe it, and we 
miss one thing: that we are on the verge of a moral bankruptcy in this 
country.
  When you talk about homeowners who played by the rules, saved their 
money, bought a piece of the American Dream, and then all of a sudden, 
years, if not decades later, we come back with a well-intentioned bill 
but that had unfortunate, unintended consequences that would strip the 
American Dream and homeownership right from under them, then the 
question becomes to this Congress: What do you do about it?
  I said this before and I will say it again. What real leadership does 
when they do something and they realize it had unintended consequences, 
they fix it.
  Congresswoman Waters realized that her name was attached to a bill 
that potentially would strip homeowners of the American Dream, of the 
largest piece of investment that you pass on from generation to 
generation, and she stepped up and said, that is not what we intended. 
We are going to fix it.
  The Republican leadership, Mr. Grimm, stepped up and said, this is 
unsustainable--and more than that, it doesn't make common sense.
  So both sides came together to produce a bill that would have 
affordability, stability, and predictability.
  We talk about rules all the time, that corporations just want to know 
the rules so they can play by them. Well, homeowners want to know that 
too, and homeowners who built to the building codes and the elevations 
that they were required to do at the time should not come back and be 
penalized later.
  So I just want to, again, congratulate Congresswoman Waters because 
people back in New Orleans and in Louisiana today who are celebrating 
Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras and having a good time, they can just party 
a little bit longer knowing that we are here today and we are going to 
fix this problem that could strip the American Dream away from them.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Neugebauer), the chairman of the Housing and Insurance 
Subcommittee on the Financial Services Committee.
  Mr. NEUGEBAUER. I thank the gentlewoman.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition today to H.R. 3370. The National 
Flood Insurance Program is in trouble. It is in deep debt, and it is 
putting taxpayers at risk for another government bailout.
  The program was added to the GAO's ``high-risk list'' in 2006 and 
remains there today because of the financial exposure it represents to 
the American taxpayers. Today, it is over $24 billion in debt, and this 
number will continue to rise.
  Recognizing this, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Act in July of 
2012. The act authorized the flood insurance program for 5 years and 
included important reforms to get it back on sound financial footing. 
One of these reforms was the gradual elimination of outdated rate 
subsidies.
  In a rare display of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats 
overwhelmingly supported the notion that risk-based premiums were 
needed for the program to be self-sufficient and to protect the 
taxpayers from further bailouts. Over 400 Members of Congress voted for 
that.
  Since then, we have heard concerns from homeowners facing sticker 
shock from the higher rates. I am sympathetic to those concerns, but I 
believe there are more responsible ways to address this bill than the 
bill before us today.
  The Financial Services Committee put together four different 
proposals to address these concerns. The last one included an 8- to 10-
year phase-in for rates and nearly a 2-year affordability cap of 
$5,000. Unfortunately, each one of these proposals were rejected 
because they fell short of maintaining subsidies indefinitely.
  That is unfortunate because maintaining these subsidies hurts 
everyone in the long run. It hurts taxpayers by putting them on the 
hook for billions of dollars in subsidies. It hurts the Flood Insurance 
Program by easing its path toward insolvency. It hurts homeowners by 
encouraging them to build in areas that jeopardize their lives and 
their properties.
  After more than a decade, if I have learned anything in Congress, it 
is that the Federal Government does a terrible job of underwriting and 
pricing risk. Whether it is through subsidies or failures to price risk 
due to political considerations, the American taxpayers, unfortunately, 
end up footing the bill.
  What is even worse under H.R. 3370 is that the taxpayers will be 
subsidizing rates that benefit only 1 percent of households. More than 
20 percent of the programs policies are heavily subsidized, regardless 
of need, and of those policyholders, 70 percent go to homes in counties 
with the highest property values.
  While H.R. 3370 may help homeowners facing high rates in the short 
run, it does them a disservice by not promoting a healthy, stable 
financial program in the future.
  For taxpayers, for homeowners and, ultimately, for the future of the 
flood insurance, I think we can do better. I urge my colleagues to vote 
against H.R. 3370.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Capuano), who has spent 

[[Page H2135]]

an awful lot of time working on this issue with all of us.

  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member. I want to thank 
Mr. Grimm and others for bringing this bill forward.
  You have heard what the bill does. I will tell you that I want to 
associate myself with all of the people who support it. I actually want 
to associate myself with some of the remarks of people who oppose it.
  I think that we need to fix the problem of short funding in the flood 
insurance program, but I don't think we need to do it overnight, and I 
don't think we need to do it on the backs of middle class people with a 
hammer.
  So I want to fix this. I think this bill is actually a step forward 
to say we will fix it, but we will take some time doing it to do it 
right so innocent people don't get hurt.
  I also want to take a minute to point out some of the things that are 
not in this bill that people need to be aware of. This bill does not 
address people who own vacation homes.
  I know that some people think that everyone who owns a vacation home 
is a multimillionaire Donald Trump. The average income of a second 
homeowner is about $96,000. The average value of a second home is about 
$150,000.
  Now, you don't see most of these homes on the Home and Garden Network 
because they are usually on wheels. They are made out of T-111. They 
are just inexpensive places that people get to bring their families.
  Now, most of these homes are not on the shore, but they are, not all 
of them, but some of them, are in flood plains. We need to take this 
into account when we continue to address this issue as we move forward.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. King), a member of the Financial Services Committee.
  Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for 
yielding.
  I rise in strong support of H.R. 3370. At the outset, let me thank 
Congressman Grimm, Congressman LoBiondo, and Ranking Member Waters for 
the work that they have done in bringing together a true, bipartisan 
bill to this floor.
  The Biggert-Waters bill was well-intended, but there were unintended 
consequences, and some of those consequences would be absolutely 
devastating to hundreds, if not thousands, of constituents in my 
district who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
  I would just state for the record that these people are not 
millionaires. They complied with the law, with all the building codes, 
all the ordinances. They never had any flood damage in their 50, 60 
years prior to this--but their homes are devastated. To add to that the 
incredible increase they will get in premiums for flood insurance would 
be even the ultimate devastation.
  So this bill is absolutely essential. Ironically, it will actually 
decrease Federal spending over the next 5 years, but it is important 
that we stand together to help those in need, people who complied with 
the laws, hardworking, blue-collar Americans who are proud of their 
homes, proud of their families, and want the opportunity to get back on 
their feet.
  They were devastated once. Let's not allow Congress to devastate them 
again.

                              {time}  1745

  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlelady from New 
York, Representative Maloney, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on 
Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises.
  Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. I thank the gentlelady for her 
leadership and for authoring the Grimm-Waters bill, which I support.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill will protect homeowners from drastic premium 
increases, provide relief to housing markets, and put the flood 
insurance program on a path to long-term solvency.
  The bill will also put a stop to FEMA's reckless implementation of 
Biggert-Waters. The GAO found that FEMA doesn't even have the 
information that the GAO said was key to determining a property's 
actual flood risk; and yet, FEMA has gone ahead with massive premium 
increases anyway, based on back-of-the-envelope calculations and a 
shocking indifference to the impact on the middle class families that 
are suffering across this country because of Hurricane Sandy, many of 
whom are in my district.
  This bill will require FEMA to actually complete the affordability 
study that was mandated in the prior legislation, so that independent 
experts can determine the best way to successfully balance the two main 
goals, consumer affordability and long-term solvency.
  This bill would set a hard cap on rate increases at 18 percent a year 
and will protect families and businesses from the kinds of 500 percent 
rate increases that they are suffering from now.
  I congratulate the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Waters) on her 
leadership and Congressman Grimm. I urge a ``yes'' vote on the Grimm-
Waters bill.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Mississippi (Mr. Palazzo).
  Mr. PALAZZO. Mr. Speaker, our bill is the result of extensive 
bipartisan, bicameral work over the past year. This bill is both 
compassionate and fiscally responsible. From the start, my priority has 
been to ensure that flood insurance remains available and affordable 
not just in Mississippi, but all across the country. Our bill meets 
those goals.
  Many of the people who are now facing unrealistic, overnight 
increases followed all the rules. They went to great effort and expense 
to build back to FEMA standards after storms like Hurricane Katrina.
  Congress never intended to punish responsible homeowners, yet that is 
exactly what FEMA is doing, as it implements the law with flawed maps 
and procedures.
  These actions are threatening individuals and entire communities. I 
am not talking about wealthy waterfront homeowners. In south 
Mississippi, I am hearing from teachers, veterans, fishermen, people 
who work at the shipyards in support of our U.S. Navy, many 100 miles 
inland.
  Our bill holds FEMA accountable. It provides real responsible relief 
and lasting reforms. I urge my colleagues to join me in strong support 
of this bill.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts, Representative Lynch, who is a member of the Financial 
Services Committee and is also the ranking member on the Subcommittee 
on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census, and I thank 
him for his hard work in putting this bill together.
  Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady from California for 
her leadership on this bill. She has been a tiger on this issue, trying 
to get this right.
  I also want to thank the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Cantor) and the 
Republican leadership, as well as Mr. Grimm from New York and Mr. 
Richmond from Louisiana who really, I think, without their work 
collectively, this would not be happening.
  I rise in strong support of H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance 
Affordability Act. Over the past several months, I have had the honor 
of working with my colleagues, both Republican and Democrat, to roll 
back the harmful and unintended consequences of the original Biggert-
Waters Act.
  This legislation that we take up today is a culmination of a lot of 
efforts by a lot of individuals, as well as the activism on the part of 
our constituents.
  I have had an opportunity to attend some rallies and meetings in my 
district with over 1,000 people attending, where the concerns and the 
fears of my constituents were brought forward in great volume.
  H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, will do a 
number of things. One, it reinstitutes or expands the grandfathering 
provisions in section 4 from what they were in the previous bill.
  A very important provision here, section 18 allows reimbursements for 
successful appeals. Now, what that will do is, if FEMA incorrectly--as 
they have in many cases--if they put homes in a flood zone incorrectly 
and a homeowner appeals that, they get the money that they expended for 
that appeal, for the surveying and technical assistance they need.
  In addition, section 24 provides for a flood insurance advocate to 
actually work on behalf of homeowners to make sure that they get the 
full and meaningful appeal that they deserve and also that they 
understand what the flood mapping process requires.

[[Page H2136]]

  More fundamentally, this bill is an example of what we can achieve 
when Congress works together, and I honestly hope that we will build on 
this spirit of bipartisan cooperation. I urge my colleagues to vote in 
favor of this critical bill.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. LoBiondo).
  Mr. LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in very strong support of this 
legislation, and we are about to do something tonight that doesn't 
happen around here very often. We are going to do a bipartisan effort 
that has common sense and fiscal responsibility, something that we 
ought to be doing more often.
  This is an issue maybe that doesn't affect everyone, but if you are 
from a district where your constituents have had their lives and their 
dreams ripped apart--first by Superstorm Sandy and then by the 
miserable implementation of a flood insurance policy that was well-
intended, but not put together--how do you go back and say you are not 
going to fix it?

  This gives us an opportunity to give them hope for the future, to 
give them a chance to rebuild. 16 months later, I have still got 
constituents who aren't able to get back into their homes. How do you 
tell them they are going to have such an outrageous increase on their 
flood insurance, which will force them to throw their hands up and give 
it up?
  Congress is doing the right thing tonight. We need to follow through 
on this, have it changed, and understand that this is the approach for 
the future.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New 
Jersey, Representative Pascrell, and I thank him for his input on this 
bill.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, it must be very painful for people to 
watch this when affected--whether you are on a river or whether you are 
on the ocean--because it is painful to see that some of the people who 
are opposed to this bill also voted ``no'' on the Sandy relief, so they 
are being consistent anyway.
  After Sandy, many of my constituents in towns such as Moonachie and 
Little Ferry are now experiencing a second blow from skyrocketing flood 
insurance rates. In particular, the home sale trigger has resulted in 
drastically higher flood insurance rates for prospective home buyers, 
putting a wet blanket on real estate markets in flood-prone areas.
  The bill before us today contains some very important changes. It 
provides immediate relief to homeowners by repealing the home sale 
trigger and reducing the rate of possible increases. I am hopeful that 
we can revisit flood insurance reform in a way which will provide 
relief to second homes and small businesses.
  Although these are important first steps, I know we can do better, 
and I thank all those who contributed to this legislation.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Louisiana, Dr. Cassidy, one of the champions of this bill.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3370.
  First let me say this affects almost all Americans. On this map, you 
can see, if there is a color, there is a chance that you are affected, 
and Chairman Hensarling pointed out that Dallas is a hot spot of red.
  That is a place where the woman he referred to will benefit because 
of this reform, and I will say that all Americans will because it is 
our job, in Congress, to protect the American citizen from agencies 
implementing laws in ways which are not sustainable.
  The flood maps that FEMA has been using have questionable actuarial 
calculations, and there have been unrealistic rate increases.
  The bill before us today, which I worked closely in developing with 
the gentleman from New York (Mr. Grimm) and others, to strike the right 
balance, takes into consideration both fiscal solvency and consumer 
affordability.
  First, the bill is paid for. It is paid for, and the funds will go 
into the NFIP reserve fund, so in the future, there will be money in 
the till, should there be another disaster.
  Secondly, I will say that, if we don't do this, the National Flood 
Insurance Program will enter into a death spiral. CBO estimates that 
for every 10 percent increase in premiums, 1.4 percent of the 
subscribers drop off. If people are getting 2,000 percent premium 
increases, they will all drop off, which puts it into a death spiral.
  I would say this is actually the fiscally responsible thing that puts 
the program on a glide path to actuarial soundness and, in the 
meantime, benefits Americans across the way.
  A broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Realtors have worked 
hard on this. I would like to thank Neil Bradley in Leader Cantor's 
office; from my staff, Chris Gillott; and Richard Hoffman in 
Representative Grimm's office, for a lot of tremendous work.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Castor).
  The Florida delegation, both Democrats and Republicans, has been 
absolutely magnificent in helping to get us to this point, and I thank 
Representatives Castor, Hastings, Buchanan, and all of those from the 
Florida delegation for all of the work they have done.
  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I thank the gentlewoman from California for 
her leadership on behalf of families all across the country.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge all of our colleagues to vote 
``yes'' on H.R. 3370 that will fix this flood insurance debacle.
  A year and a half ago, a bill was passed here in the House to address 
the solvency of the flood insurance trust fund. That was the right 
thing to do. Unfortunately, it had serious unintended consequences that 
families and businessowners and Realtors all across this Nation have 
been dealing with.

  But I am heartened here today because, even though this Congress has 
an unfortunate reputation for not addressing the challenges that face 
families all across this country, we are going to come together here 
today to address a very important financial issue for families.
  I would like to thank my colleagues from Florida, Congressman 
Hastings, Congressman Bilirakis, Congressman Nugent, Congressman 
Buchanan, and all of our delegation for fighting, standing together to 
work for them. I urge all of our colleagues here today to do the same.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Bilirakis), a great advocate for this bill.
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this 
legislation sponsored by my good friend from New York, Congressman 
Grimm. It will provide relief for homeowners struggling to keep their 
homes. It will ensure that all participants in the program are treated 
fairly, and it will eliminate an untenable financial burden during 
these tough economic times.
  Some allege this bill will solely benefit the rich in beachside 
mansions. Middle class retirees and those on fixed incomes are the ones 
who are suffering from rate increases of $10,000 or more. They are the 
ones who risk losing their homes.
  If Congress fails to pass this bill, we will risk destroying all the 
reforms made to the National Flood Insurance Program. We cannot let the 
perfect be the enemy of the good.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this 
commonsense legislation, a solution that addresses a long-term issue 
and helps people immediately, and I thank Representatives Waters, 
Cassidy, and Shelley Moore Capito for their leadership on this bill.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California, Representative Garamendi, who has been advising us that we 
really do have to make changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, 
and I thank him for his work.
  Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill, and I 
thank Congresswoman Waters and Mr. Grimm for their work.
  This is desperately needed. There is a lot to be said, and a lot more 
work will go into this before this becomes law, but it is a major step 
forward.
  One example: Isleton, California, in my district, in a zone that was 
mapped with 100-year flood protection, was downgraded by the Army Corps 
of Engineers and is now a high hazard area. Last year, it cost $700 a 
year for the flood insurance. This year, it is $7,000, which is about 
twice the mortgage on that $115,000 house. It is not workable.
  We are seeing, across my area, insurance premiums of $10,000, 
$25,000. This bill would stop that, move things back,

[[Page H2137]]

give us time to deal with what is the fundamental problem in flood 
insurance, and that is the catastrophic coverage, which has to be 
spread out across the Nation.

                              {time}  1800

  More to be worked on, good progress, good bill. Let's vote it out of 
here and get this thing solved.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Buchanan) for his hard work.
  Mr. BUCHANAN. Mr. Speaker, flood insurance has been devastating to 
people in Florida. It has been in my region. I have done multiple town 
halls. It has gone up not 10 or 20 percent but 1,000 percent, 500 
percent. Businesses can't sell their businesses. So this bill will 
bring some immediate relief. It also brings some certainty so people--
because the market today is frozen, it will bring some certainty to 
people so they can buy and sell their homes.
  Also, as the cochair of the Florida delegation, I want to thank my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle because it is nice once in a 
while where we can work together to get something done for the American 
people.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Oregon, Representative Blumenauer.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentlelady's courtesy. 
I have a slightly different perspective. The problem isn't FEMA. The 
problem is that Congress has not appropriately dealt with these issues 
over time.
  I have spent 10, 15 years now working on flood insurance reform. This 
is not the last word. We are kicking the can down the road. We are 
putting a surcharge on other people. We are grandfathering in some of 
the properties that are going to get these subsidized rates and 
transferring it. But this money is going to run out. It is going to 
have to be reauthorized.
  With all due respect, I think we need to look at the big picture. We 
have got to look at the big picture, not keep putting people back in 
harm's way, subsidizing people, and blaming FEMA because we don't 
adequately fund them and, of course, we don't want them to accurately 
map. We go gunnysack when that happens.
  I had reservations at the time that this was too abrupt. But I am 
concerned that we are retreating too much on the reforms that had been 
made earlier, and it is going to be hard to get back, of course, until 
the bubble bursts, which it will.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, next I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Scalise), a great advocate for this bill 
and for his State.
  Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady from West Virginia 
for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, we have a flood insurance program that is broken. In 
fact, 18 different times in the last 5 years the National Flood 
Insurance Program has either expired or nearly expired because of all 
of the flaws and disagreements within Congress. And yet the result of 
that was that Biggert-Waters law of 2012 that is now being implemented 
in a way that is unworkable for the Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, I think if you look at what American families expect, 
they expect a flood insurance program that is both sustainable and 
affordable, and these two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, what we 
are achieving with this bill that is on the floor today will accomplish 
both. It will make the program sustainable for the future with real 
reforms, reforms that can actually be implemented in a way that will 
allow the program to move forward and pay for itself. In fact, this 
bill is fully paid for.
  It also allows it to be done in a way that families can afford to pay 
their flood insurance premiums, because sending somebody a $10,000- or 
$20,000-a-year bill on a $200,000 house that never flooded is not an 
actuarially sound rate; it is a death sentence. Federal law should not 
be implemented in a way that literally forces millions of people out of 
their homes who played by the rules.
  So what we are bringing to the floor today is an actual solution to a 
problem. This is not some delay. It is a real, long-term solution that 
pays for itself within the program with real reforms that allow people 
to move forward with a flood insurance program that will be sustainable 
and ultimately lead to a private market where you don't just have FEMA 
to go to, you can actually have private options as well for families. I 
urge its passage.
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from New 
York, Ms. Nydia Velazquez, a member of the Financial Services 
Committee.
  (Ms. VELAZQUEZ asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
her remarks.)
  Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this 
bipartisan legislation.
  Sixteen months ago, Hurricane Sandy battered New York City. Even 
today, efforts to rebuild continue. However, because of unforeseen 
consequences in previous flood insurance laws, many of the businesses, 
families, and homeowners affected by this storm may be hit again, this 
time by a flood of rising insurance premiums.
  Because of how the law is structured, over 26,000 New York City 
homeowners and businesses will see their annual flood insurance 
premiums increase at least 25 percent. In some cases, people who 
previously paid $430 annually could see their rates rise to $5,000 or 
even $10,000--an unsustainable amount.
  Today's bill will address these unintended consequences of last 
year's reforms. By eliminating the property transfer trigger, buyers 
and sellers will now have peace of mind.
  Mr. Speaker, we all want to ensure the National Flood Insurance 
Program is solvent, but we must do it in a way that does not harm those 
who have already suffered enough.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, can you tell me how much time is remaining 
on both sides?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from West Virginia has 2\1/
2\ minutes remaining. The gentlewoman from California has 4\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to close, but I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. WATERS. I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker and Members, I am very proud and very pleased about this 
bipartisan effort to fix a serious problem in this country. As a matter 
of fact, we should all be pleased because it is said by the media and 
others that we cannot work together. This is a time when we can 
demonstrate that we really do care about the citizens of this country 
and we recognize the problems that were created by the Biggert-Waters 
bill.
  I said earlier that my name was on that Biggert-Waters legislation, 
and I certainly worked in a bipartisan effort to try and do the right 
thing, and, of course, some day we would like to move all of these 
subsidies to actuarial rates.
  We have unintended consequences in Biggert-Waters, and we have set 
out to fix them. So I want you to know that Mr. Grimm, Mr. Richmond, 
Mr. Cassidy, and Mrs. Capito all have worked very hard to make sure 
that we addressed the concerns of our constituencies.
  Let me tell you, with this bill we are removing certain rate increase 
triggers, the reinstating of grandfathering, lower rate increases, 
refund of excess premium charges to homeowners, affordability study and 
framework; added to that, working with the bill that the Republicans 
brought to the floor and Democrats added to it, individual property 
rate increase caps, affordability goal, rate increase protection for 
newly mapped properties, mapping protections, consumer protections, 
protections of small businesses, nonprofits, houses of worship, and 
residences.
  Mr. Speaker and Members, again, this is a bill that will address the 
concerns and the outcry of our constituents, some of whom were 
experiencing 500 and 600 percent rate increases. I tried to work with 
the chairman, and I was disappointed that Mr. Hensarling saw 
differently. He does not support this bill, and he said so. Mr. 
Neugebauer and Mr. Hensarling said they had come up with other ways to 
deal with it. I never saw any of that. Nobody ever tried to relate to 
the fact that I was outreaching to try and get Mr. Hensarling, Mr. 
Neugebauer, and others who had a different opinion to come and work 
this out and do what we could for our constituents.
  So, I am very pleased that we had Members on the opposite side of the 
aisle who insisted that their constituents deserved protection and that 
they

[[Page H2138]]

deserved support. Working with their leadership and Mr. Cantor working 
with our leadership, with the Democrats on this side of the aisle, we 
have come up with something that is extremely important and effective.
  Now, I must say to both sides of the aisle, we have continuing work 
to do. This is not a permanent fix on this. What I discovered was none 
of us knew enough about FEMA. We have been crying for years about 
remapping. We don't really know how it works. We don't know the 
discretion that they have in making some of these decisions. We have 
got to spend the next few years really learning FEMA, how it works and 
how it makes decisions. We should never get into this kind of a 
situation again because we simply have allowed them to do what they do 
without us being involved. They don't report to us on a yearly basis, 
as I would like to have them do.
  So this is an opportunity for us not only to fix this problem at this 
time but to focus on the fact that we have got oversight responsibility 
that we have got to carry out to make sure that we are dealing with 
these issues in a way that makes good sense.
  So, again, I am very proud, and I am very pleased with this 
bipartisan effort. I welcome the opportunity to have been able to work 
with some Members from the opposite side of the aisle that I had not 
worked with before. I think I learned a lot about them, and they 
learned a lot about me. I am so thankful that our leadership gave me 
the latitude to say go and do everything possible working with the 
opposite side of the aisle to get this problem fixed. So they have not 
only supported me, but they have supported all of the Members on our 
side of the aisle who have said to them that this may be one of the 
most important fixes that we will do this year.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the ranking member, Ms. Waters, for her 
hard work on this and Mr. Grimm, Dr. Cassidy, and all the speakers we 
have had today here on both sides. We can work together to fix a 
definite problem, but I think we need to kind of reflect back on how 
did we get to this problem. We were trying to fix a bigger problem, the 
$24 billion hole that the Flood Insurance Program has created because 
of mismanagement and not looking at it correctly.
  Over 400 of us voted for that bill. So we did not realize at the time 
the data that we were given by FEMA gave us a certain ceiling that 
certain folks' premiums could rise, and as we have heard today from 
everybody, Republicans and Democrats, no matter where you live in the 
country, some of the premium escalation has just been incredible. So I 
am proud that we are working together.

  I mentioned West Virginia. We flood a lot in West Virginia. We have 
got a lot of hills and hollows. Richard in St. Albans came to me in 
October of last year. He had just bought a home before they put the new 
FEMA rates into effect. He thought he was going to be paying a little 
over $1,000 in his flood insurance program on a $150,000 house. Guess 
what? $14,000 was the rate that he was going to have to pay. He said:

       I am just going to walk away. I will get foreclosed on. 
     This is my dream home.

  So for Richard, that is why I think all of this is important today, 
and for all the other Richards out there across the country who have 
had sticker shock, who haven't been able to cope, who have been very 
upset about this and wondering, Is anybody really going to help me 
here?
  So what I think we have learned today is whatever the scenario is, 
whether you are in a mountain situation by a river or if you are in an 
urban area in New York or if you are in Florida, that these problems 
were deep, expensive, and discouraging, and people were unable to 
understand a way out. I think that is what we are giving them today.
  Many of the reforms that were built into the first Biggert-Waters 
bill still remain. We are refining those to make sure they make common 
sense. We are making sure that folks around the country can afford the 
homes that they have bought with the flood insurance and then get them 
on a glide path towards the sustainability of not just their home but 
also the program in general.
  So I am proud of the efforts that all of us working together have had 
here today. I would like to encourage the other body to pass this. It 
is not going to work unless we get the Presidential signature that we 
need to make sure that we get the real relief that people need and 
deserve.
  So with that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong 
opposition to this bill reauthorizing the hopelessly indebted, 
unworkable, unfair and failed federal flood insurance program.
  The National Flood Insurance Program is hopelessly in debt, over $25 
billion in fact, due to the fact that politics are responsible for 
setting rates, not actuarial cost. Because of this many Americans 
across this nation are paying rates far below what actual risk would 
dictate in the marketplace while others, including many who I 
represent, are being forced to pay into a program that they do not need 
or want to help subsidize lower rates for other favored groups whose 
risk is far greater.
  In fact, over the life of the federal flood insurance program the 
people of my state have paid multiple times more in premiums than has 
been paid back in claims.
  That is wrong. And this problem is expanding across the nation as the 
flood insurance program sinks deeper into debt.
  This problem reminds me of the ``risk corridors'', also known as the 
insurance company bailout, included in Obamacare.
  This Obamacare provision would be used to provide a federal taxpayer 
bailout to private insurance companies when premiums paid by 
beneficiaries do not supply enough money to pay claims.
  How is the flood insurance program any different? Some have their 
premiums kept artificially low and then federal taxpayers are asked to 
pick up the tab when those areas eventually flood.
  I think the ``risk corridor'' included in the flood insurance program 
is just as wrong as the one included in Obamacare.
  Both Obamacare and the National Flood Insurance Program are proof 
that the federal government is a bad insurance company.
  That is why I have continually submitted legislation to bring about a 
responsible end to the federal flood insurance program and allow for 
the creation of a private marketplace based upon actual risk.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this terribly flawed bill 
and in finding a better way forward that brings about the end of the 
national flood insurance program.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Homeowners 
Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which removes some of the unintended 
consequences from the Biggert-Waters law that would increase flood 
insurance premiums on my constituents. This bill would repeal the 
premium hikes and would reinstate ``grandfathered'' rates for 
properties that were remapped into higher-risk areas.
  In my own district following Superstorm Sandy, the changes in flood 
projections brought on by the storm will hit my constituents with 
higher flood insurance premiums--some as high as $10,000 extra per year 
unless Congress acts to mitigate the hike.
  I think we can all agree that we want to address the fiscal concerns 
faced by the National Flood Insurance Program--but these steep, 
immediate rate hikes are not the way.
  This is a bipartisan bill that offers immediate protection to my 
constituents from financially devastating flood insurance premium 
hikes. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes.''
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), and would 
like to thank Mr. Grimm and Mr. LoBiondo, all our colleagues from New 
Jersey, and the Republican leadership for working together to bring 
this much-needed legislation to the Floor.
  After Superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast, our communities 
rallied, coming together to help friends and neighbors recover and 
rebuild. While progress has been made, some shore towns and the 
families who live along our coast are still struggling. Thousands of 
homeowners are working to rebuild their properties, and their lives--
and the difficulties they continue to face cannot be overstated.
  The coming rate hikes will have a chilling and dramatic impact on 
these communities, and mitigating the consequences for homeowners along 
the shore is a necessary step in the recovery effort.
  At the start of this year, over 80,000 flood insurance policies were 
in force in Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer Counties in my Congressional 
District. The exploding cost of flood insurance--a program that many 
have paid into for years--threatens to roll back much of the progress 
made, and once again leave homeowners looking for answers.

[[Page H2139]]

  The bill on the floor today makes targeted and necessary reforms and 
will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who 
simply cannot afford them--and cannot find a buyer to take them on, 
leaving them stranded and without a solution. Many cannot afford the 
recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their 
premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty.
  Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows 
the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters 
reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan 
accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.
  While not perfect, this bill will provide relief and stability to 
these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the 
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It also provides a mechanism 
for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and 
increases transparency by making information publicly available to 
impacted parties.
  Further, HR 3370 will provide individualized assistance by 
establishing a flood insurance advocate to help homeowners and towns 
obtain information and fair treatment during the mapping process. After 
hearing from hundreds of families, particularly in Monmouth and Ocean 
Counties, who are simply looking for information on how they will be 
impacted by changes to the flood mapping process, I am pleased that 
this important provision was retained in the final bill.
  Mr. Speaker, there are NFIP-related issues that still must be 
resolved--such as ensuring proper and accurate flood mapping--but this 
bill is an important step in the right direction and will help mitigate 
the rate shock that many of my constituents are facing.
  I urge my colleagues to support it.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from West Virginia (Mrs. Capito) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 3370, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

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