After much debate, five flood insurance bills were approved (three with bipartisan support) on Wednesday afternoon at a markup held by the House Financial Services Committee.
The bills are part of a package to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is $24.6 billion in debt and whose current authorization expires September 30. While Republicans and Democrats on the committee have a shared goal of reducing this debt, Democrats withheld support for some of the bills over concerns that the they would raise premiums for policyholders and leave citizens uninsured.
The legislation, which would reauthorize the program for five years, would bring widespread changes to the program. The three bipartisan bills, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act (H.R. 1422), the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act (H.R. 1558), and the National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2875) would remove barriers to private-sector flood coverage, require mitigation plans for areas repeatedly damaged by floods, and enact administrative reforms to avoid fraud and abuse, respectively. The more partisan bills, the Taxpayer Exposure Mitigation Act of 2017 (H.R. 2246) and H.R. 2565 would remove requirements for commercial properties to purchase flood insurance and change the basis of premium calculation, respectively. Last week, the committee passed the National Flood Insurance Program Policyholder Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 2868) and the 21stCentury Flood Reform Act (H.R. 2874). Representative Sean Duffy (WI-7) anticipates merging these seven bills into one before the final reauthorization heads to the House floor in July.