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Good News: The Government Will No Longer Make You Put Your House on Stilts

A house on stilts on Aug. 27, 2012 in New Orleans
A house on stilts on Aug. 27, 2012 in New OrleansPhotograph by Skip Bolen/EPA via Corbis

Two years after passing an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program that was praised as a bipartisan victory, Congress erased most of it yesterday with Senate approval of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.

The initial law, known as the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, was passed after environmentalists and Tea Party activists joined forces to make major changes to the country’s flood insurance program, the government entity that pays out checks to help homeowners repair water damage caused by hurricanes and other storms. Enviros felt the program encouraged development on sensitive lands by allowing federally subsidized flood insurance rates in coastal areas, and small-government activists balked at the program’s red ink–at the time it was $18 billion in debt, a number that has since ballooned to $24 billion.