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Options as NFIP Expiration Approaches – Again

December 5, 2018
11:40 AM

Coming on the heels of its recent one-week extension is another looming expiration date for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The program again faces the possibility of a lapse if lawmakers do not pass legislation to reauthorize the program by this Friday, Dec. 7.

Lawmakers bought themselves some extra time last week when they passed a one-week extension of the NFIP, pushing its expiration date from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7. But now they find themselves in a familiar position this week with similar options to consider, including:

  • Pass standalone legislation such as that introduced this month by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) which would reauthorize the NFIP for six months, through May 31, 2019. This bill was passed by the Senate last week, but to date, the House has not taken action.
  • Include an NFIP program extension as part of government funding legislation, which also must be passed by this Friday, Dec. 7 in order to avoid a government shutdown. Legislation providing for a two-week government funding extension that includes another short-term NFIP extension appears to be the most likely scenario at this point.

In either case, it’s almost certain that any long-term reauthorization with program reforms will have to wait until 2019 for the new Congress to consider. The last long-term NFIP extension was passed in 2012 as part of the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which extended the NFIP through Sept. 30, 2017. Since then, the program has operated (with lapses) under a series of short-term extensions. The lack of agreement over structural reforms to the cash-strapped program has prevented lawmakers from coming together on a long-term program reauthorization.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Thursday, Dec. 6, Congress approved the aforementioned legislation that provides a two-week government funding extension and another short-term NFIP extension. The expiration date is now Friday, Dec. 21.