This week, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services Maxine Waters, D-Calif. made another plea for a short-term extension for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Although the program expired in July, Waters and many other legislators have advocated for its extension and reauthorization. Despite their pleas, the program’s fate still hangs in the balance.
In a statement addressed to Speaker Paul Ryan, Waters said she was disappointed to be calling for the temporary extension of the program’s authorization once again.
“The NFIP provides flood insurance coverage to more than 5 million families across the country; communities rely on the NFIP for flood maps and mitigation assistance; and small businesses rely on the NFIP to pick up the pieces when the inevitable storm hits,” Waters said. “Yet the long-term stability of this critical program continues to fall victim to our inability to agree on a number of items.”
“Mr. Speaker, Americans across the country are experiencing natural disasters of an absolutely catastrophic magnitude. Just this month, the Camp Fire devastated California, amounting to the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history,” Waters continued. “Current estimates are that 88 individuals have lost their lives, and tens of thousands of structures, including over 13,000 single-family homes, have been destroyed.”
“And 2017 was an absolutely catastrophic year in terms of hurricanes. In 2017, for the first time on record, three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the United States, and Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico,” Waters said.
Waters even cited the Federal Administration’s National Climate Assessment, which states that climate change is costing billions of dollars in property damage, according to 13 federal agencies and more than 300 scientists.
“Faced with these realities, we stand here today still lacking a credible plan to end the partisan problems that we have that has brought the NFIP to the brink of a lapse several times already in this Congress,” Waters said.
According to Waters, given the critical importance of the NFIP to the housing market, the program's reauthorization is essential.
“I have led the effort for years to provide long-term reauthorizations of the NFIP so that we could ensure the affordability and availability of flood insurance, and I will continue to do so in the Financial Services Committee next Congress,” Waters said.