House passes clean authorization to extend flood insurance funding

House passes clean authorization to extend flood insurance funding
© Greg Nash

The House on Wednesday passed legislation to extend flood insurance funding through the end of November.

Lawmakers voted 366-52 to pass the measure a day before House members are set to fly home for the August recess. The measure extends funding that was set to expire on July 31.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where leadership has expressed confidence that it will be passed.

“Now that the House has passed the extension, the Senate will pass it before our next State Work Period to ensure that the program does not expire. Senators will continue their work over the next four months on a long-term reauthorization that reforms the program," said David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play House Democrats to vote on flavored e-cigarettes ban next year MORE (R-Ky.).

The bill received pushback from a handful of House Republicans who advocated for leadership to take up another short-term reauthorization bill that contained eight reforms.

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"I've got a fiduciary duty to members and members of my conference, but I oppose the bill. It's going to be the seventh time we have done a short-term reauthorization with zero reforms since the House acted,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingLawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank House passes Ex-Im Bank reboot bill opposed by White House, McConnell Has Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? MORE (R-Texas) told The Hill on Tuesday.

“So I haven't made a secret of the fact that I'm unhappy because, you know, never underestimate the ability of the Senate to do nothing. So, I mean, the Senate is going to do what they're going to do. I've made it clear to them I don't support a reauthorization without some minimal reforms.”

Proponents of the clean bill said its passage was necessary to keep the National Flood Insurance Program funded during hurricane season while allowing additional time to hash out long-term legislation with the Senate that contains reforms to make the program financially sustainable. The program is currently roughly $20 billion in debt.

The House passed long-term legislation that included dramatic reforms in November, but the measure has not yet been taken up in committee in the Senate.

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP calls for minority hearing on impeachment, threatens procedural measures Lighthizer starts GOP charm offensive on Trump trade deal Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal MORE (R-La.) had urged lawmakers to pass the clean reauthorization bill ahead of Wednesday's vote.

“I encourage us to get those kind of reforms done, but on the midnight hour, let's at least keep this program going for a few more months while we continue negotiating, and let's get a long-term deal that actually has the reforms that will make this a sustainable program with private sector involvement for years to come,” he said on the floor Tuesday.