Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed four bills that were offered by House Financial Services Committee Members, including H.R. 2578, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation introduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, to extend the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) authorization to September 30, 2019. The authorization is due to expire on May 31. See the Chairwoman’s floor statement below.
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of my bill, H.R. 2578, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019. Since the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) multi-year authorization expired on September 30, 2017, ideological differences have led Congress to pass ten short-term extensions and even allowed the program to briefly lapse twice during government shutdowns.
Unfortunately, the National Flood Insurance Program is currently set to expire on May 31. My bill, which I have coauthored with Ranking Member McHenry, would extend the program to September 30 because we recognize that the NFIP is critical to ensuring access to flood insurance coverage across this country. And, this extension will afford the Ranking Member and I time to complete our work on a long-term bipartisan compromise.
Mr. Speaker, the NFIP is much more than just an insurance program. The NFIP plays an important role in disaster preparedness and resiliency by providing flood maps, setting standards for floodplain management, and investing in mitigation for our homes, businesses, and infrastructure. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, everyone is at risk of flooding. That means that this is not just a coastal issue—we all have an interest in ensuring a strong National Flood Insurance Program.
We need a long-term reauthorization to provide certainty to homeowners and businesses, and we also need critical reforms to the program. First and foremost, we must do more to address unaffordable premium costs for low-income households, address the program’s debt, which is unfairly burdening policyholders with millions of dollars in interest, and lower costs and fees on policyholders.
Secondly, we need to invest more heavily in mapping, floodplain management, and mitigation, which will save taxpayer dollars in the long run by helping to reduce the damage that occurs when floods hit.
Finally, Superstorm Sandy exposed numerous issues related to claims processing, including findings of outright fraud. Going forward, we must work to ensure that we have safeguards in place and mechanisms for greater accountability and oversight to ensure that claims are handled fairly and efficiently to provide relief for policyholders.
Mr. Speaker, passing H.R. 2578 is not just a stop-gap measure to kick the can down the road. I have every confidence that with this extension, Democrats and Republicans will finally break the cycle of haphazard extensions. I intend to work in a bipartisan manner with Mr. McHenry to provide a long-term reauthorization to restore stability and confidence in the market. Through a thoughtful, bipartisan process, Congress can provide real relief to families, communities, and businesses.
In addition to H.R. 2578, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the following bills, offered by House Financial Services Committee Members, on a voice vote.
- H.R.389, the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act, bipartisan legislation that establishes a rewards program to incentivize individuals to notify the U.S. government of assets in U.S. financial institutions that are linked to foreign corruption, allowing authorities to recover and return these assets and prevent further enabling foreign corruption and terrorist financing. Rewards are paid with funds taken from the recovered stolen assets.
This bill was introduced by Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC).
- H.R.1060, the Building Up Independent Lives and Dreams Act (BUILD Act), bipartisan legislation that allows nonprofit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, offering mortgage loans for charitable purposes to use certain alternative forms to satisfy disclosure requirements.
This bill was introduced by Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).
- H.R.1037, the Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act, legislation that requires the Secretary of the Treasury to report to Congress semiannually on a list of the licenses issued to financial institutions to provide services to countries and persons subject to certain U.S. sanctions.
This bill was introduced by Congressman Denver Riggleman (R-VA).