Congress is debating whether to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires on September 30. Since 2017 Congress has often waited (12 times) until the last minute to reauthorized the program before its expiration and passed only short-term extensions.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4378 to keep the federal government funded through November 21 and included an extension for the NFIP through the same date. The resolution is on the Senate calendar, but it is unclear whether the Senate will pass the resolution or allow a shutdown.
The House of Representatives Financial Services Committee unanimously passed a bill titled the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3167), which would reauthorize the NFIP for five years. It would also mandate a number of reforms, including allowing policyholders to get refunds if they cancel their policy before its expiration date, eliminating penalties if insureds leave the NFIP for the private market, and requiring the NFIP to increase premium rates each year.
On the Senate side, there is a bill with the same name (S. 2187) that would also extend the NFIP for five years. The bills would also cap annual rate increases at 9% (as opposed to the current law, which allows increases by up to 25% annually), making the program more affordable, especially for low-income policyholders. Additionally, it includes provisions to protect homebuyers and renters by mandating flood risk and prior flood damage disclosures, and also funds flood mapping modernization and mitigation. The Senate has not voted on the measure.
It appears likely we will go down to the wire, again. Stay tuned for further updates.