By ANDREW TAYLOR
WASHINGTON (AP) - A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pressing for a four-year delay to changes to the federal government's flood insurance program that are threatening to sock thousands of people with unaffordable premium hikes.
The move comes as the government is beginning to implement a significant overhaul of the much-criticized program that passed last year with sweeping support. The reforms were backed by both liberals and tea party conservatives but have caused a panic in places like Staten Island and the New Jersey coast and in flood-prone areas along the Gulf Coast, where higher rates threaten to push some people out of their homes.
The new rules have sent some home values plummeting because of uncertainty over rates and because subsidized rates can't be passed along to buyers.