President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution in the early hours of Thursday morning to avert a government shutdown that also contained a measure to extend federal flood insurance for another year.
Technically, the National Flood Insurance Program lapsed at midnight on Wednesday, along with the entire federal budget. It didn’t become law until Trump signed it shortly before 1 a.m. after he returned from campaign events in Minnesota, according to White House pool reports.
The Senate had passed the resolution a few hours before the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year, funding the government through mid-December and extending the NFIP for 12 months. The House of Representatives passed the bill last week.
Congress has authorized about a dozen short-term extensions for the NFIP since 2017 as it wrangled over reforming the program that protects over 5 million U.S. homes.
If the NFIP wasn’t extended, about 40,000 U.S. property sales a month would have been nixed because most mortgages, including government-backed home loans, require properties located in flood areas to have the protection, according to the National Association of Realtors.
“The job is not done,” said Vince Malta, NAR president, after the Senate passed the bill that Trump was expected to sign. “NAR urges Congress to make long-term reform a priority moving forward.”
The Government Accountability Office has the federal flood insurance program on its “high risk list” because Congress hasn’t found a sustainable solution to keeping insurance affordable and maintaining the program’s solvency.
That has led to premium rates that “in many cases do not reflect the full risk of loss and produce insufficient premiums to pay for claims,” the GOA said in a report last year.