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Waters and 61 Members Demand Long-Term Reauthorization of National Flood Insurance Program

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Washington, DC, July 18, 2018 | comments

In a letter to House and Senate leadership, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and 61 Members of Congress called for a commitment to ensuring that homeowners, businesses and renters are able to protect their property in the face of flooding.

“Following an historic 2017 hurricane season, which for the first time on record resulted in three Category 4 hurricanes making landfall in the United States, and facing the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season, which is expected to cause similarly catastrophic losses, Congress has yet to provide American families with certainty that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will be available to them when the inevitable floods arrive,” the lawmakers wrote. “More than 5 million families rely on the NFIP for affordable flood insurance coverage. However, since its multi-year authorization expired on September 30, 2017, Congress has passed six short-term extensions and even allowed the program to briefly lapse twice during government shutdowns. The NFIP is set to expire, yet again, on July 31, 2018 and we write to you today to demand that the NFIP’s doors remain open.”

Ranking Member Waters has repeatedly pushed for a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that ensures the affordability and availability of flood insurance. See her September 2017 op-ed on the program here. She has also expressed longstanding concerns about NFIP’s stability and the need to improve FEMA’s flood maps.

In 2014, Ranking Member Waters led bipartisan legislation to provide homeowners with flood insurance rate relief. The law struck an important balance between addressing affordability concerns, bringing accountability to FEMA, and protecting the financial stability of the NFIP.

The full text of the letter is below:

July 17, 2018

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
United States House of Representatives
H-204, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-230, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
S-221, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leaders McConnell, Pelosi, and Schumer:

Following a historic 2017 hurricane season, which for the first time on record resulted in three Category 4 hurricanes making landfall in the United States, and facing the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season, which is expected to cause similarly catastrophic losses, Congress has yet to provide American families with certainty that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will be available to them when the inevitable floods arrive. More than 5 million families rely on the NFIP for affordable flood insurance coverage. However, since its multi-year authorization expired on September 30, 2017, Congress has passed six short-term extensions and even allowed the program to briefly lapse twice during government shutdowns. The NFIP is set to expire, yet again, on July 31, 2018 and we write to you today to demand that the NFIP’s doors remain open.

The NFIP is crucial in providing certainty and stability to the housing market. The NFIP is also necessary to provide flood mapping and incentives for communities to engage in floodplain management and mitigation. Mapping and mitigation are a critical part of the NFIP’s role in creating more resilient communities and yet we now know that 2017 was the costliest year on record for weather and climate disasters in the United States that by all accounts will only get worse.

Congress must also address the affordability of flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency that administers the NFIP, recently released its statutorily required affordability framework, which found that low-income homeowners are disproportionately more likely to live in flood-prone areas. Premiums are already unaffordable for many and yet flood insurance is only expected to become more expensive as the frequency and severity of natural disasters continues to increase. The misconception that the NFIP provides subsidies to wealthy beachfront homeowners was finally to put to rest by FEMA’s own data. With this important information, it would be a dereliction of duty for Congress to continue to leave affordability challenges unaddressed.

Homeowners, businesses, and renters must be able to protect their property in the face of flooding and a lapse in NFIP authority will leave them unable to do so. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Joyce Beatty
Rep. Ami Bera
Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo
Rep. Anthony Brown
Rep. Michael E. Capuano
Rep. André Carson
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II
Rep. Steve Cohen
Rep. Joe Courtney
Rep. Charlie Crist
Rep. Danny K. Davis
Rep. Rosa DeLauro
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
Rep. Lois J. Frankel
Rep. John Garamendi
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez
Rep. Al Green
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings
Rep. Walter Jones
Rep. William R. Keating
Rep. Daniel T. Kildee
Rep. Brenda L. Lawrence
Rep. John Lewis
Rep. Ted W. Lieu
Rep. Nita Lowey
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney
Rep. Doris Matsui
Rep. A. Donald McEachin
Rep. James P. McGovern
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks
Rep. Seth Moulton
Rep. Stephanie Murphy
Rep. Donald Norcross
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton
Rep. Beto O’Rourke
Rep. Jimmy Panetta
Rep. Ed Perlmutter
Rep. Collin C. Peterson
Rep. David E. Price
Rep. Kathleen M. Rice
Rep. Cedric Richmond
Rep. Bobby L. Rush
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Rep. David Scott
Rep. Bobby Scott
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
Rep. Brad Sherman
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema
Rep. Albio Sires
Rep. Darren Soto
Rep. Eric Swalwell
Rep. Niki Tsongas
Rep. Juan Vargas
Rep. Filemon Vela
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Rep. John Yarmuth

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