Congress needs to adopt a plan to keep the vitally important National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) up and running, before it expires at the end of this month. The program, which provides flood coverage for more than 22,000 American communities, has been kept on life-support with a series of short-term extensions, since last year.
The House of Representatives appears deadlocked on whether to adopt another short-term extension, in order to give Federal Legislators more time to work out a long-term solution, or to tap the pressure of the moment to impose reforms designed to promote the solvency of the program, which provides crucial financial protection for millions of homeowners living in flood-prone areas. One of the reforms that many in Congress support would subject communities to potential penalties, if their mitigation efforts fail to meet as yet undefined standards, which would be developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Congressman Steve Scalise, the Republican majority whip who represents a southern Louisiana district, joined by New Jersey Congressman Tom MacArthur, has introduced a clean extension bill, H.R. 6379 (115), which would keep NFIP in operation until end of November.
The House is planning to vote on some form of extension bill next week. At this point, however, we cannot predict specifically what the bill might include.
Despite the strong advocacy of Senators Menendez and Booker, the Senate has been slow to consider legislation that would provide long-term reauthorization of the NFIP. The National League of Cities (NLC) and your New Jersey League have urged the Senate to quickly pass legislation to provide long-term reauthorization of the NFIP, while making essential reforms to reduce the program’s complexity. But at this point, the House-proposed lifeline extension may be the best we can get.
With the worst of Hurricane Season fast approaching, unless Congress renews the statutory authority of the NFIP, FEMA would stop selling and renewing flood insurance policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation.
Please contact your Representative, urging timely action on NFIP.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, Ext. 121.