Congress Needs to Build Off House Financial Services Committee Investments
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a series of climate-fueled floods, hurricanes, and storms, Congress needs to pursue and pass long-overdue reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. Congress punted for a year on reforming the program in September 2020 for the 16th time without making any substantial reforms, and another short-term extension is anticipated to extend the program beyond its September 30 expiration date.
“Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and the House Financial Services Committee committed to important investments in improving the equity and accuracy of our flood program through the Build Back Better Act. This marked important progress, and Congress needs to build off these investments in future legislation by reforming and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Jessie Ritter, director of water resources and coastal policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “Delaying improvements to the National Flood Insurance Program only leaves frontline communities, homeowners and businesses at risk to climate-fueled hurricanes, storms and floods. Instead of punting for the 17th time, our leaders must reform the National Flood Insurance Program and prioritize improved flood-risk disclosure, floodplain management, and proactive mitigation, including through natural infrastructure — which benefit people and wildlife alike.”
The National Flood Insurance Program is a federally subsidized program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that has three primary components: to provide flood insurance, to improve floodplain management and to develop maps of flood hazard areas. Critical reforms are needed to modernize the program and discourage future construction in flood prone areas, including improving flood map accuracy and flood risk disclosure; supporting insurance rates that reflect actual risk to homes and businesses while providing for means-tested assistance for those who cannot afford actuarial rates; and investing in and encouraging community-wide, nature-based mitigation.
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