House Passes National Flood Insurance Program Extension
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through March 31, 2010. Created in 1968, the NFIP provides over one trillion dollars of flood insurance to more than five and a half million American homes and businesses. Financial Services Housing Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 3139 earlier this month in light of the fact that the current program is set to expire at the end of September 2009. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
In addition to extending the program, the bill approved today includes a provision authored by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) that would make technical changes to the National Flood Insurance Program to take local, state and federal funding into account when determining flood zone designations. Currently, only communities with federally funded levee improvements, not state or locally funded improvements, are eligible for an A99 designation. However, due to shrinking federal participation, states and communities across the country are investing millions of dollars into flood infrastructure. This legislation will require FEMA to take this investment into account and recognize local commitment to obtaining adequate flood protection.
Waters and Frank also pledged to continue their efforts to draft a new bipartisan measure to reform the NFIP. The new, updated legislation would incorporate important NFIP reforms previously approved by the House in 2007 and consider new studies and information not available when the Committee last reviewed the NFIP. Frank and Waters also plan to engage the Obama Administration and FEMA officials, and they invite recommendations for the reform legislation from all interested parties.