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Senate rejects private flood insurance reform

Asks for broader reform on NFIP

Despite a push in the House of Representatives to reform the private flood insurance market, the provision failed to make it through Senate for approval that same day.

The bipartisan Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Kathy Castor, D-Fla., “repeals government roadblocks to lower flood insurance rates by clarifying how non-government flood insurance policies can satisfy the federal flood insurance mandate for properties that are located in high-risk areas.”

Representatives tacked the bill onto a six-month extension of the Federal Aviation Administration, which was set to expire mere days after it passed through in the Senate.  

According to a Politico article by Lauren Gardner, Senate did vote to extend the FAA’s tax authority for six months but only after cutting the private flood insurance language, which was threatening the bill's chances.

But it wasn’t the flood provision that some Senators had a problem with as much as the timing of trying to get it through Congress.

When the House was trying to pass the bill, Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services Maxine Waters, D-Calif., explained the discourse, saying, “Now, let me be clear. I don’t oppose this policy. I voted for it last Congress and I voted for it when we marked it up in Committee this year.”

However, Waters stated that moving this bill, at this time, while ignoring all the other policy responses needed for the flood insurance program and the ongoing natural disasters in our country, is simply irresponsible.

Some senators shared similar opposition toward the bill. As the Politico article noted, while some members support changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, they argued that any effort to promote a private market should be considered as part of broader legislation that addresses the existing federal program.

Rather than add the private flood insurance provision onto the FAA extension, those who wanted the language cut said Congress needed to address the larger issue of creating a long-term solution to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed a three-month extension to the National Flood Insurance Program, with the purpose of giving Congress more time to come up with solution. As it stands, the program has an expected one-year shortfall of $1.4 billion.

With this new extension, the program will expire on Dec. 8, 2017. 

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