(Washington, DC) ‒ SmarterSafer.org today urged the United States Senate to immediately act on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reform without weakening the legislation’s effectiveness. The House of Representatives passed legislation to reauthorize the program until Sept. 30, 2016 on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-22.
The coalition said the overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House was an important and welcome first step toward bringing needed financial stability to the NFIP, but urged the Senate to pass an improved final extension that includes long-term reforms to ensure the program’s future viability.
“The House has passed a good-but-not-perfect bill to reform the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Eli Lehrer, National Director of the Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate at the Heartland Institute. “I’m glad that it moves rates towards adequacy but disappointed that it delays mapping, adds needless coverage, and fails to address long-term problems that the program faces. Now the Senate has to follow the House’s lead and pass a bill that’s at least as strong and as good.”
“HR 2018 is certainly a step in the right direction. It will help put the program on firmer financial footing, and it will better protect people by using the best science to map flood zones,” said Joshua Saks, senior legislative representative for water at the National Wildlife Federation. “However, additional reforms are needed to make sure the program is fiscally and environmentally sound. Healthy wetlands and floodplains are the best flood protection money can buy. The NFIP needs to recognize the value of these natural defenses and incentive better land use planning and the mitigation of flood risks.”
The NFIP is in serious need of reform. The program is currently $18 billion in debt and that number will likely grow as a result of recent flooding. If NFIP is to continue to provide needed protection to millions of Americans in harm’s way, the program must be put on sound financial footing.
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition made up of a diverse set of voices united to support environmentally-responsible, fiscally-sound approaches that promote public safety. The Coalition strongly opposes legislative proposals that encourage people to build homes in hurricane-prone, environmentally-sensitive areas by creating new programs that directly or indirectly subsidize their homeowner’s insurance.
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Contact: Matt Englehart