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Nelson measure would stop flood insurance increases

An amendment being introduced by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson this week is the latest attempt to stop the implementation of flood insurance rate hikes set to begin Oct. 1.

The amendment is attached to a controversial short-term appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week that would keep the government operating until Dec. 15 while defunding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Nelson’s amendment to the bill would prohibit funds being used to implement the rate increases called for in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

While several measures aimed at stalling flood insurance reform are slated to go before the Senate, Nelson’s amendment is more likely to be voted on in the coming weeks, as Congress must work out a budget, according to the Democrat’s press secretary, Ryan Brown.

Nelson wrote a letter Tuesday to Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater asking for them to lobby Congressional Republicans to pass the measure.

A “state of gridlock in Congress, caused by a small minority, has prevented us from getting much of anything passed,” he wrote.

Several rate increases will start on Oct. 1, including an annual rate increase of 25 percent for second homes, commercial properties and properties with repetitive flood losses.

The increases aim to reduce a $24 million deficit in the National Flood Insurance Program.

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