The bill to establish a national broker clearinghouse to cut through the red tape of state-by-state licensing passed the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday with overwhelming bipartisan approval. A similar bill moved through committee in the U.S. Senate in June and is teed up for a full vote.

If passed by both legislative bodies, the law would create the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, which would have a 13 member board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Members of organization would have a simpler time obtaining licenses to practice outside of their state of residence.

Industry groups rejoiced at the news, with Ken Crerar, president and CEO of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, noting that the bill is thorough in its simplification, “while maintaining the country’s highest regulatory standards and enforcing rigorous membership requirements.” Charles E. Symington, Big “I” Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America senior vice president for external and government affairs, echoed this praise and called for a Senate vote “as soon as possible.”

While the House has passed NARAB legislation two times before, the Senate introduction of the bill this year was a first, which many in the industry say is promising for passage. The Senate bill also received endorsement by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in March, the first time any NARAB bill was acknowledged by this oversight body.

The bill, known at NARAB II because of various iterations of the proposal in different congressional sessions, is H.R. 1155 and the Senate equivalent is S.534. Its primary sponsors in the House are Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and David Scott (D-Ga.); on the Senate side, Sens. Jon Tester (D -Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.).

“Streamlining the insurance licensing system and increasing consumer protections is common sense so I am pleased that the House voted overwhelming to pass NARAB,” Tester said in a statement Tuesday. “This is legislation that both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress agree on and I look forward to the Senate passing this important bill soon.”

The vote Tuesday was 397-6.

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