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Ranking Member Maxine Waters’ Statement on New CBO Report on Expected Flood Damages to Homeowners with Federal Mortgages, Calls for Long-Term Reauthorization and Reform of the National Flood Insurance Program

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released this statement following the release of a new report by the Congressional Budget Office entitled, “Flood Damage and Federally Backed Mortgages in a Changing Climate.”

“I’ve long sounded the alarm on the effects of climate change, and the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) new report is a stark reminder that worsening climate change remains one of the greatest threats to our nation’s housing and financial systems. In particular, the CBO finds that between 2020 and 2050, the federal government will continue to experience increased flood-related damages to homes financed with federally backed and insured mortgages. Total expected flood damages are projected to reach up to $258 billion over a 30-year period by 2050 for homes with mortgages that are backed, insured, or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The CBO also adds to a body of evidence that shows the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) mapping of special flood hazard areas (SFHAs) does not account for up to half of all homeowners with federal mortgages who are at risk of flood damage, with most expected damages concentrated in coastal areas. This is why I have continually pushed for increased funding and reforms to modernize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and FEMA’s mapping of SFHAs.

“The bottom line is that families across the country who are affected by increased flood disaster cannot afford to pay the price of the current instability of the NFIP. While the House passed its 27th bipartisan short-term reauthorization of this NFIP through February 2, 2024, this is part of a pattern that has put the NFIP repeatedly at risk of lapse throughout the years—something that industry and advocates alike have strongly opposed. I call on my Republican colleagues to work alongside Democrats in the House to pass legislation that would finally bring stability to the NFIP through long-term reauthorization and reform. During my time as Chairwoman of the Committee, we were successful in passing my bipartisan bill, the ‘National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019’ that did just that and I am confident we can do it again. Now is the time.”


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