Senate Democrats speaking at a podium.
Left to right: Sens. Johnny Isaakson (R-Ga.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) speak to reporters in January about their push to delay flood-insurance rate increases. Photo courtesy of the Senate Democrats on Flickr.


The Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act with a vote of 67-32. The bill aims to delay the Biggert-Waters flood insurance rate hikes by four years and reform the way that bill assesses flood risks across the country.

The bill now travels to the House, where its future remains uncertain amid recent opposition by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the Obama administration.

Votes in the affirmative dipped compared to Monday's cloture vote, where senators from both sides of the aisle voted 86-13 in favor of ending debate and voting on the bill.

Earlier in the week, senators proposed several amendments to the bill, but debated mostly over one submitted by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. His measure aimed to lessen, but not delay, the insurance rate increases outlined in Biggert-Waters, citing opposition by Speaker Boehner and the White House as evidence that the bill would face certain death without some compromise.

Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Toomey's amendment "almost a mirror image of ... the Biggert-Waters Act."

That amendment died on the Senate floor Thursday by a vote of 65-34.

Similarly, an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to add an opt-out clause to the bill's language on National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers reform, and a joint amendment by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to clarify how the bill defines private insurance also failed.

Save for a withdrawn amendment by Sen. Merkley, D-Ore., the other amendments, which had little effect on the larger bill itself, passed by voice vote on Wednesday.

After the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act passed, Sen. Menendez, D-N.J., one of the bill's main backers, tweeted, "Thrilled my flood insurance bill passed Sen w/strong 67-32 vote! Strong message to House & American ppl that we will #fixflood insurance."