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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Senate to Vote on Combined NARAB and Flood Insurance Bill Today

Late yesterday the Senate voted to waive a budget point of order on S. 1926, the combined NARAB and flood insurance bill, with a vote of 64-35. 60 votes were required to waive the budget point order. By passing this procedural vote, the Senate can now proceed to a vote on the final bill.

Vote on Final Passage
Based on the current Senate calendar, the Senate will reconvene at 10:00am this morning to resume votes on amendments. A vote on the final bill passage could be held around 2:00pm ET this afternoon. Amendments and final passage only require 51 votes to pass.

Hagan Amendment on escrow accounts-Support
The ABIA-supported Hagan amendment, which removes a compliance burden to collect and escrow for flood insurance when other escrows are not required for those loans, was included in the underlying bill and therefore will not require a separate vote. Read the joint trade letter in support of the amendment.

Yesterday, ABA and ABIA sent a letter urging senators to support of the Heller/Lee amendment and to oppose the Merkley amendment.

Heller/Lee Amendment on private flood insurance-Support
ABIA and ABA support the amendment to S. 1926 offered by Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would change the way “private flood insurance” is defined in the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, which currently prevents many lenders from accepting private policies for residential and commercial mortgages. Heller and Lee’s amendment would allow lenders the discretion they need to allow a healthy private market to form, ABA and ABIA said in the letter.

Merkley Amendment on lender-placed insurance-Oppose
ABIA and ABA oppose the amendment offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that would subject lender-placed insurance to “duplicative and unnecessary” federal regulation, which “would only serve to complicate the process and limit the ability of state regulators to implement state-specific solutions,” ABA and ABIA said in the letter.

Coburn Amendment on NARAB-Oppose
This amendment would essentially gut the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB) provisions by allowing the states to opt-out of NARAB. ABIA has spoken to Senators about our opposition to this amendment and believe that there is sufficient opposition to defeat the amendment.