NLC Calls For Changes to National Flood Insurance Program

December 2, 2013

Yucel Ors

At the Congress of Cities Conference in Seattle, NLC members joined the chorus of voices calling for changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.

In a resolution titled "In Support of an Affordable and Sustainable National Flood Insurance Program," NLC is urging Congress to support the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (S. 1610/H.R. 3370). The bill will delay the implementation of flood insurance rate increases to millions of property owners until after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completes the affordability study mandated by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (PL No. 112-141).

The bill will also allow Congress sufficient time to consider amendments to the Biggert-Waters Act that would keep flood insurance rates affordable for primary, non-primary and business properties while balancing the fiscal solvency of the program.

During a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance hearing this week, some members of the Subcommittee expressed reservation in delaying the rate increases. In addition, Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, who testified at the hearing said, while he supports having a means-tested affordability program for homeowners, he is not finding any leeway in the law to make the rates affordable for homeowners.

Fugate also said that he "cannot delay parts of this program" without Congressional action. To view the video archive of the meeting, go to financialservices.house.gov and click on Hearings. While there is significant bipartisan support for S. 1610/H.R. 3370, the bill faces major road blocks in the Senate and the House due to the fiscal impact of delaying the implementation and the fact that there is little time left on the legislative calendar in 2013. NLC continues to monitor the status of the legislation and urge members of the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees to consider it.