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Waters Introduces Legislation to Reform NFIP

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 3167, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reauthorization Act of 2019, legislation to provide a long-term reauthorization to the National Flood Insurance Program and ensure homeowners, businesses, renters, and communities are given the certainty they deserve.

The NFIP helps policyholders reduce their risk by providing flood mapping, floodplain management and mitigation services, which allow local communities and individuals to prepare for the financial impact of flooding.

“Flooding is a humbling and equalizing force,” said Chairwoman Waters. “In the wake of the many catastrophic natural disasters we experienced just in the last three years, we’ve seen the best of America during the worst of times, with everyone putting aside their differences, to come together to help one another in a time of need.

“Now it’s time for Congress to do the same thing.

“That is why I have introduced the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 to provide a bipartisan, long-term, and responsible reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program and make sure affordable flood insurance continues to be available to communities across our country.”

Since fiscal year 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program has experienced twelve short-term extensions resulting in brief lapses during that time.

Chairwoman Waters’ legislation would provide a five-year reauthorization of the NFIP, which will protect the health of our housing market and ensure the affordability and accessibility of flood insurance.

The NFIP Reauthorization Act of 2019 will be considered during this week’s full Committee markup and is expected to have bipartisan support.

Click here for a one-pager and section-by-section summary of this legislation.

Chairwoman Waters has repeatedly called for the long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program and she has expressed longstanding concerns about flood insurance affordability.

In June 2019, she outlined her priorities for reforming NFIP for the first time as Chairwoman.

In May 2019, Chairwoman Waters and Congressman Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced legislation (H.R. 2578) to extend the NFIP authorization to September 30, 2019.

In September 2018, Waters joined the 2018 Bipartisan Farm Bill Conference Committee and urged her colleagues to protect Section 12609 of the 2018 Farm Bill, which extended the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through January 31, 2019.

In July 2018, Waters and 61 Members sent a letter to House and Senate leadership demanding long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Waters was also a 2018 National Preparedness Month Congressional Co-Chair, where she worked to raise awareness of the importance of flood insurance for homeowners and other forms of emergency and disaster preparedness.

In her September 2017 op-ed, she pushed for bipartisan cooperation to renew the NFIP for the long-term and highlighted the need for a federal flood insurance program that ensures affordable flood insurance remains available to homeowners, businesses, and renters.

In 2016, Waters sent a letter to the FEMA Administrator urging him to provide Congress with a robust affordability framework in a timely manner so that proposals could be considered ahead of the 2017 reauthorization of the NFIP.

FEMA did not provide the requested affordability framework until 2018.

In 2014, Waters requested a GAO report on flood insurance affordability after FEMA failed to complete a congressionally-mandated affordability study.

In 2012, she worked across the aisle on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to coauthor the Biggert-Waters Act with former Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL). When FEMA’s botched implementation of the premium increases called for in that law led to unintended consequences, lawmakers from across the aisle joined her once again in 2014 to pass H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA). HFIAA not only provided homeowners with flood insurance rate relief but also struck an important balance between addressing affordability concerns, bringing accountability to FEMA, and protecting the financial stability of the NFIP.


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