WASHINGTON, D.C. – SmarterSafer, a national coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations and mitigation advocates, released the following statement today in response to Congress passing a $1.3 trillion spending bill that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to July 31. The program provides more than 5.2 million property owners with critical flood coverage but is billions of dollars in debt.
“This is the fourth time Congress has punted on much-needed reforms to the nation’s ailing flood insurance system—but we are hopeful that it will be the last. By decoupling the NFIP from the federal government’s overall spending measure, lawmakers now have a golden opportunity to focus on passing comprehensive reforms to the antiquated NFIP that shore up its mounting debt and improve its long-term viability. This will require the Senate to advance legislation similar to the House-passed NFIP reform bill, which allows for more consumer choice in the marketplace, updates property level mapping, invests in mitigation and moves toward risk-based rates coupled with means-tested assistance for low-income families.
“In addition to extending the NFIP to July 31, we are pleased to see Congress significantly increase funding for mapping and mitigation efforts, which builds on the $12 billion Congress allocated to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in January to help make communities more resilient from future disasters. With the NFIP now set to expire in four months, we look forward to working with lawmakers to expand these efforts and advance comprehensive reforms that save taxpayer dollars and better protect people and property in harm’s way.”
SmarterSafer previously released a policy proposal that outlines how Congress should comprehensively reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Click here to learn more.
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition that is made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that promote public safety. The coalition believes that the Federal government has a role in encouraging and helping homeowners to undertake mitigation efforts to safeguard their homes against natural disasters. At the same time, the coalition opposes measures that put people’s lives at risk at the expense of taxpayers. Measures such as subsidizing artificially low rates for homeowners’ insurance policies help to encourage construction in environmentally sensitive and unsafe areas. The coalition is working to ensure that Congress does not incentivize people to live in harm’s way in places prone to hurricanes and floods.