Banking Chairman Leaning ‘No’ on Supplemental Over Flood Insurance

By Brandon Ross

The Senate Banking Committee chairman is leaning toward voting against a $36.5 billion disaster aid supplemental because it would forgive $16 billion of National Flood Insurance Program debt without overhauling the program.

“I have problems with it, so right now, at this point, I would be leaning towards ‘no,’ ” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), told reporters Oct. 18. He said he had not made a final decision.

“All it does is just waive $16 billion worth of debt, and does not provide any other reforms to the flood insurance program,” he said.

Absent a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the program before the current authorization expires Dec. 8, Crapo said he expects another short-term extension to be included in a future supplemental. He said he favors a long-term reauthorization with big changes to the NFIP program, which is already $30.4 billion in debt to the Treasury.

Crapo said he wants a shorter extension to force early action by Congress on a reauthorization that would overhaul the program, though he didn’t specify how long the next extension should run.

“I’m not going to draw a line in the sand,” Crapo said.

He said any changes to the NFIP are unlikely to be tacked onto the supplemental the Senate is currently considering.

“The administration indicated that they want to keep [the current supplemental] as clean as possible,” Crapo said. “However there could be issues with this one, because it does eliminate a lot of debt without doing anything else.”

He predicted it would pass.

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