Flood Insurance Lapse Avoided But Longer Term Extension Still Uncertain

The House and the Senate have approved a seven-day extension of the federal flood insurance program that keeps the program from lapsing Friday.

That short extension will take the program to Dec. 7, the day by which Congress must pass a continuing resolution in order to continue funding the government and avoid a shutdown.

The 7-day measure (HR7187), introduced by Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-N.J.), passed the House 350-46 and passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

Also, the U.S. Senate Thursday night by voice vote passed six-month reauthorization (S3628) of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until May 31, 2019. But whether the House will follow the Senate is unclear.

If the House does not agree to a six month extension, Congress could still include an extension in the continuing resolution for funding the government required by Dec. 7. However it is not clear if or when Congress and President Trump will agree on funding or if there will be a government shutdown.

Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.), who sponsored the six month extension measure passed by the Senate, said he will try to get the House to go along with his longer-term extension.

“For the past week, I’ve been working hard to convince my colleagues in the Senate that a lapse in the NFIP would be a disservice to families across this country, not just in the coastal states. I’m glad my colleagues came around,” he said in a statement.

Noting that more than five million Americans are insured through the NFIP, Kennedy said he is “frustrated with the inefficiency in Washington that is causing us to extend the program again without long-term reforms, but families deserve to be protected.”