Although Congress is preparing to adjourn for the August recess, there is no reprieve in sight as far as the legislative calendar is concerned. Given this packed agenda, congressional leaders have recognized that there will be no time to devote to the needed reforms of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to temporarily extend it. The legislation will move the expiration date from September 30, 2009 to March 31, 2010, giving Congress an additional six months to address meaningful reform and long-term extension of the program. Today, the House of Representatives took the first step toward sending the NFIP extension language to the President for signature by passing H.R. 3191, unanimously by voice vote. The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration before the President signs the bill into law, granting the extension through the end of March.
NAMIC supports several NFIP reforms that include mandated updates of the nation’s flood maps, the phase-in of actuarially sound rates for non-residential and non-primary residences, increased financial institution penalties for non-compliance, and the forgiveness of the program’s more than $19 billion debt. If these reforms are adopted, it will move the program toward a healthier financial future. Additionally, it is critical Congress not include a provision for mandatory wind coverage through the program which would only saddle the NFIP with even more debt and disrupt the entire national marketplace.
It is imperative that Congress not continue to kick the can down the road and finally reform and extend the NFIP. We are encouraged that the Obama Administration has indicated that it supports many needed reforms of the program including debt forgiveness, while opposing the addition of wind coverage. NAMIC will continue to urge Congress to use this opportunity to follow a financially responsible policy approach to shoring up this vital program by adopting these much needed reforms.
Please direct any questions to Kathy Mitchell, Director – Federal Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.