Federal

Flood Insurance Update

May 10, 2019

The two top lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee reached an agreement to extend the National Flood Insurance Program another four months, the 11th short-term extension of this financially troubled program in less than two years.

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the committee, cosponsored a bill introduced May 9 that would keep the program going through the end of the current fiscal year.

The bill, H.R. 2578, is identical to language that was inserted into a larger disaster relief bill, H.R. 2157, which is scheduled to come up for a vote on the House floor May 10. However, both the White House and Republicans in the Senate have said they would not support this disaster bill because they believe it is too costly.

The introduction of this stand-alone bill by Waters and McHenry signals their concern that pinning the future of the flood insurance program to a larger, more complex bill may cause it to lapse. This would prevent the program's administrator, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, from issuing new policies, which are often a prerequisite in many parts of the country for obtaining a mortgage.

"This extension prevents harm to homeowners and the housing market while also providing time to reach bipartisan consensus on much-needed reforms to the program," Waters said in a statement.

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