The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was set to expire at midnight on December 21, 2018, unless Congress acted to extend it. The NFIP was originally supposed to be reauthorized in September 2017 and has since been operating on a series of short-term extensions. The program was in danger of lapsing for a long period of time because it was included in a federal appropriations legislative package called a continuing resolution (CR). However, with Congress and the White House at a standoff as to the CR over funding for a border wall, PIA National began working with congressional allies to move an NFIP extension separate from the CR to ensure the NFIP would not lapse.
Back on November 29, the Senate passed S. 3628, a straightforward bill to extend the NFIP until May 31, 2019. This measure was sponsored by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and passed unanimously in the Senate.
On the House side, momentum to act on the May 31 extension was slowed by retiring Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), outgoing chair of the Financial Services Committee. Chairman Hensarling was intent on passing any extension with substantial reforms, and this insistence stalled any action in the weeks before the NFIP was set to expire. However, the chairman was unable to move his preferred extension, and, with a lapse of the program imminent, House leadership finally allowed S. 3628 to come to a vote. It passed in a bipartisan vote of 315-48. After a minor technical change by the House and the Senate, the bill was transmitted to the White House, where President Trump signed it into law less than two hours before the expiration deadline.
With the federal government now in a partial shutdown, PIA National appreciates our congressional allies, who recognized the NFIP’s value and moved to continue the program separately, so it would not lapse for an unknown period of time. With the NFIP now set to expire on May 31, the new Congress, which begins in January, has several months to find agreement on a long-term reauthorization of the program.
PIA National looks forward to working with the 116th Congress on a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP.