When the going gets tough, Congress gets weak in the knees. That’s the lesson we can take away from the recent fracas over reforming government-subsidized flood insurance — insurance that has encouraged people to build (and rebuild) in increasingly flood-prone areas along rivers and coasts.

In 2012, more than 400 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, sending a clear message to homeowners that if they were going to live in risky places, they would have to shoulder more of the cleanup costs when disaster inevitably struck.

This week, 306 representatives voted to roll back some of those reforms. Yesterday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to do the same. The White House says President Obama will sign the bill.