A Letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

March 12-16 has been designated as National Flood Safety Awareness Week, however, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has yet to be extended and is set to expire at the end of May.  As a diverse coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental organizations, insurance industry interests and others, we urge you to pass meaningful flood insurance reform and provide a long-term extension of the NFIP as quickly as possible to ensure U.S. lives and property are better protected before National Flood Safety Awareness Week.

The NFIP must be reformed and extended to ensure that it can continue to safeguard communities, prevent further taxpayer bailouts, and protect the environment. More than 5.6 million policyholders throughout the United States depend on the NFIP as their main source of protection against flooding, which is the most common natural disaster in the United States. NFIP reform will improve the way we communicate and manage flood risk; safeguard communities and the rivers they depend upon; and help people move out of harm’s way.

In addition, reforming the program will also help protect the American taxpayer.  The NFIP is nearly $18 billion in debt to federal taxpayers and that amount is likely to increase as a result of unprecedented flooding in 2011. The NFIP was temporarily extended four times in 2011, with the latest extension set to expire on May 31, 2012.  A long-term extension would provide much-needed certainty to the recovering economy by protecting homeowners and businesses while easing the burden on taxpayers.

While Congress is sharply divided on many issues, flood insurance reform receives widespread bipartisan support. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP in July by an overwhelming bipartisan vote, and the Senate Banking Committee unanimously reported a similar bill in September.  Last month, a bipartisan coalition of 41 U.S. Senators wrote a letter to the Senate Leaders urging that legislation be sent to the Senate floor as expeditiously as possible.  However, that bill has yet to be introduced to the full Senate.

We believe National Flood Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity to address NFIP reform quickly and better safeguard communities throughout the country. We thank you for your attention and look forward to working with you on this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

SmarterSafer

(list of Members attached)

 

 

SMARTERSAFER.org

Americans for Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy

 

MEMBERS

Environmental Organizations

American Rivers

Defenders of Wildlife

Environmental Defense Fund

National Wildlife Federation

Republicans for Environmental Protection

Sierra Club

 

Consumer and Taxpayer Advocates

American Conservative Union

Americans for Tax Reform

Heartland Institute–Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate

Competitive Enterprise Institute

 

Insurer Interests

Allianz of America

Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers

Chubb

Liberty Mutual Group

National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

Reinsurance Association of America

Swiss Re

USAA

 

Housing

National Low Income Housing Coalition

National Leased Housing Association

 

ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS

American Consumer Institute

National Fire Protection Association

Taxpayers for Common Sense