Obama Lends Support to Senate Flood Insurance Bill

The Obama Administration has signaled its support for a Senate bill (S.1940) to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The Senate advanced the bill yesterday but did not vote on it as Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D.-Nev., indicated members were still ironing out some issues with it.

The White House released a statement in which it said it supports moving the insurance program to full risk-based pricing as the Senate bill allows.

“By requiring the Federal Emergency Management Agency to move to full risk-based premium rates for certain properties, the bill would strengthen the NFIP’s financial position and increase its ability to fund future claims. The bill would also reduce flood risk and increase the resiliency of communities to flooding,” the White House statement said.

The Administration said it is “pleased that the bill supports transitioning to actuarially sound rates to enable policyholders and communities to adjust to risk-based premiums.”

In addition, the Administration said it supports the bill’s measures to strengthen and streamline mitigation programs.

The Senate bill would reauthorize the program for five years and mandate various pricing, eligibility and financial reforms to reduce the program’s debt. The House has already passed a similar measure.

Reid said the Senate has lots of business to finish this week before the July 4th break with bills on student loans, drug safety and flood insurance among its priorities. He said the Senate would stay over the weekend if necessary to finish its business.

The insurance program is set to expire at the end of July if Congress does not act.