WASHINGTON – With the United States Senate now expected to address NFIP reform after the upcoming vote on the Farm Bill, SmarterSafer.org today urged the U.S. Senate to pass long-term reform of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) this week after years of temporary extensions to the program.
“For five years, Congress has passed temporary extensions of the NFIP, delaying much-needed reforms that would better protect lives and property and save taxpayers billions of dollars,” said SmarterSafer.org. “A long-term extension would provide much-needed certainty to the recovering economy by protecting homeowners and businesses, ease the burden on taxpayers, and no longer provide people an incentive
to live in environmentally sensitive and dangerous areas. The time is now for the Senate to seize on broad bipartisan support for flood reform and finally pass meaningful reauthorization of the NFIP that will better safeguard our communities and finally bring fiscal stability to the program.”
NFIP reform has broad bipartisan support. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP in July 2011 that had meaningful reforms by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-22, and the Senate Banking Committee unanimously reported a similar bill in September.
The NFIP is nearly $18 billion in debt to federal taxpayers and that amount is likely to increase without reform. The program covers 5.6 million households across the country and has more than $1.25 trillion in exposure.
The NFIP has continued on short-term reauthorizations since its last long-term authorization expired in September 2008. These short-term extensions resulted in 53 days of temporary lapses in 2010, and the NFIP was temporarily extended four times in 2011. The current NFIP extension is set to expire during hurricane season on July 30, 2012.
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.