Senate Banking Leaders Discussing Bipartisan Flood Reauthorization

By Brandon Ross

Leaders on the Senate Banking Committee are negotiating their own bill to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a committee aide told Bloomberg BNA June 22.

The House Financial Services Committee voted June 21 to advance a seven-bill package to the floor to reauthorize and overhaul the NFIP. Two other Senate reauthorization proposals have already been released, including one measure ( S. 1368) sponsored mostly by Senate Banking Committee members.

But Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and ranking member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are discussing their own bipartisan bill for NFIP reauthorization. More details will be released once they are finished negotiating their proposal, Amanda Critchfield, the committee’s communications director, told Bloomberg BNA.

House Democrats opposed some of the seven NFIP bills approved by House Financial Services. The measures could pass without Democratic support in the House, but Senate rules would mean at least some Democrats would need to be on board any reauthorization proposal before the NFIP expires Sept. 30.

The Senate Banking Committee has jurisdiction over property casualty insurance matters, which flood insurance falls under.

The NFIP is $25 billion in debt to the Treasury. The program’s overseer, Roy Wright, has told lawmakers he sees no way to ever repay the money under the program’s current structure and with the increased expected losses from future disasters.

The solvency issue is compounded by the threat of rising sea levels and increased severe storm activity expected as a result of climate change.

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