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Votes This Week on Flood Insurance and Rural Housing

January 15, 2014

On January 13, the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill was released to fund the federal government through September 30, 2014. The House and Senate are both expected to pass this legislation later this week to avert another government shutdown. Included in the bill are two provisions that are of importance to REALTORS®: flood insurance and rural housing.

Flood Insurance

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill prohibits funding for implementing future premium increases on “grandfathered properties” only. The draft includes language prohibiting FEMA from spending the money to raise “grandfathered” rates for the next nine months. It does not include a delay for the home buyers who have already seen rate increases over the past year.

Additionally, the Senate plans to vote on legislation that would create a 4-year “time out” for both impacted home buyers and future increases on “grandfathered” properties. The Senate Majority Leader has promised the sponsors a vote on S. 1846 Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act which would delay any increases for 4 years; they are currently negotiating the number of amendments and amount of debate time. The bill is expected to come up the week of January 27 if not sooner, and will require 60 votes to move forward. NAR issued a call for action and is urging every senator to vote yes.

Rural Housing

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill includes a specific provision that extends the current rural housing program definition through September 30, 2014.