- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy said Wednesday he’s been booted from a Republican leadership position because he broke with GOP leaders in his efforts to stop higher flood insurance premiums from hitting homeowners.

Cassidy said he was removed from the House Republican “whip team” because he sided with Democrats last week on a procedural vote that could have quickened House consideration of a Senate-passed bill to delay some flood insurance increases.

The “whip team” helps track votes on legislation and tries to coax either support or opposition to bills for party leaders. A spokesman for Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy didn’t immediately respond to questions about why Cassidy was removed from the position.

Cassidy is locked in a tight U.S. Senate race against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, and flood insurance rate hikes are an attention-grabbing issue in their home state.

Both candidates have highlighted their efforts trying to stop increases set in motion by a 2012 revamp of the federal flood insurance program. It’s a rare issue on which the opponents are on the same side.

A provision pushed by Cassidy and added to an omnibus spending bill will put off higher premiums required by new flood maps until fall of 2015 at the earliest. The Senate-passed bill is broader and would require more delays.

Cassidy’s removal from the leadership position could bolster his efforts to show he works across party lines on Louisiana issues, a claim Landrieu regularly makes as well.

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