Today, at a full Committee hearing to examine draft legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)¸ Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, urged Committee Members to work on a bipartisan long-term reauthorization package:
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and welcome to all of our witnesses, who are here to discuss draft legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
This hearing is critically important. The NFIP is set to expire in a matter of months and we simply cannot allow the program to lapse. For years, prior to the passage of Biggert-Waters, Congress had been extending the NFIP for just months at a time. Twice this led to shutdowns, including one that stalled more than 40,000 home sales in one month alone.
These short-term extensions place communities at risk and undermine our housing market. That is why, Mr. Chairman, we cannot let politics get in the way of the work of legislating to keep flood insurance available and affordable.
While there are certainly some provisions in the draft package of legislation before us today that seem to be reflective of the ideas that I and many of the Democrats and Republicans that I have worked with on this Program share, it absolutely falls short in many respects.
Our requests are simple: provide a long-term reauthorization to ensure stability and confidence in the market; address the debt and the billions of dollars it costs policyholders already struggling with unaffordable premiums; provide robust affordability assistance to those who may literally lose their homes if we do not act; put guardrails in place to ensure that the development of a private market does not threaten the affordability and availability of coverage; invest heavily in mapping and mitigation, which we know saves more money than it costs; and put policyholders first by bringing transparency, accountability, and oversight to the various entities that participate in the Program.
Mr. Chairman, I truly believe that this reauthorization can be bipartisan, but I am concerned that if you do not heed my call to work together on the details of this package, it will cause irreparable harm to the millions of Americans who rely on the NFIP to protect their homes and businesses.