House votes to extend flood insurance program

House votes to extend flood insurance program
© Greg Nash

The House on Tuesday passed a bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The bill, passed by voice vote in the lower chamber, advanced as the program was set to expire at the end of the month.

House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms Democrats, Trump set to battle over implementing T relief bill Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' MORE (D-Calif.) noted that Congress has passed 10 short-term extensions since the multiyear authorization expired in 2017.

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“My bill, which I have co-authored with Ranking Member [Patrick] McHenry (R-N.C.) would extend the program to Sept. 30, because we recognize that the NFIP is critical to ensuring access to flood insurance coverage across this country,” Waters said on the floor. “And this extension will afford the ranking member and I time to complete our work on a long-term, bipartisan compromise.”

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop GOP lawmakers push back on need for special oversight committee for coronavirus aid Pelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid MORE (R-La.) praised its passage, stressing the importance of ensuring the program remains up and running ahead of hurricane season.

"With hurricane season quickly approaching, the House took important action today to prevent a lapse in the National Flood Insurance Program, which is critical to millions of families and small businesses across the country, including about 500,000 policyholders in Louisiana alone,” he said in a statement.

"While these short-term patches are necessary to guarantee certainty for policyholders, we must do more. I will continue working with members on both sides of the aisle toward a long-term reauthorization of NFIP that focuses on affordability, improved mapping and mitigation, protects taxpayers, and encourages more choices so families can have options when buying flood insurance."

The House passed a broader disaster relief package last week that also would have extended the NFIP, a package that is not expected to see action in the upper chamber.

The Senate signaled Tuesday it's closing in on a deal on disaster relief. It remains unclear whether it will include an extension of the NFIP.