House Republicans passed legislation seeking to shore up the finances of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Titled the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, the bill, which passed the chamber by a vote of 237-189 with bipartisan support, attempt to stabilize the flood program by raising prices on homeowners whose homes have flooded and altering homeowners towards the insurance companies.
Attention will now shift to the Senate where legislation is in the works.
"Today's vote on the #FloodInsurance bill provides important reforms for certainty and taxpayers for policy holders," House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louis., composed on Twitter.
The passage of the bill follows a lengthy discussion over the past six months, as Republicans and Democrats alike battled over a program that those living along rivers and seas rely on greatly to subsidize their flood insurance premiums but has conducted massive deficits over the last ten years.
Laura Lightbody, project director of The Pew Charitable Trusts' flood-prepared communities initiative, wrote in a blog post the legislation "addresses the growing and costly drain of repeatedly flooded properties on the NFIP."
"Historically representing only about 1 percent of policyholders but approximately 25 to 30 percent of the program's claims, the amount of these properties has been rising and will continue to grow as lower-risk property owners opt for personal flood insurance," she wrote.
Tuesday's vote represents a success for Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who has pushed for flood insurance policy reform for years and has stated he will retire at the conclusion of his term at early 2019.
But getting passage wasn't simple. This month Hensarling announced a deal with Scalise that gave homeowners - just their future claims not asserts that were past, could be counted.
For congressmen representing coastal areas, such as Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, keeping premiums from rising too far was a requirement after earlier efforts to reform the program brought angry responses from constituents.
"This bill includes common-sense reforms that make sure Americans living in high flooding areas can still buy affordable flood insurance," he explained. "I am pleased that my associates and I were able to discover a solution that puts NFIP on a sustainable financial path and will provide needed relief through future flooding events. I urge the Senate to act quickly as well."
Texas Republicans voted unanimously for the bill, while Texas Democrats voted against, except Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin.