House Flood Bill Floating Off Course

Washington — Earlier this year, the House Financial Services Committee released a draft five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). When the draft was released, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, urged stakeholders to provide “input into protecting the program integrity of the NFIP” that is already $25 billion in debt. The Heritage Foundation explained that while some of the provisions were “particularly flawed” and other “unfeasible,” the proposal as a whole “would facilitate the availability of private flood insurance.” Since Duffy’s 21st Century Flood Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2874) passed out of committee in June, it has been subject to intense industry lobbying, particularly by the Realtors and Home Builders, to further undermine important reforms. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“One of the reasons Americans are so thoroughly frustrated with Washington is the role special interests play in the legislative process. While Chairman Duffy deserves credit for building consensus around significant reforms to a debt-ridden and dysfunctional flood insurance program, he cannot allow the bill to continue floating off course. He cannot do it alone, though. House Republican leadership should serve as a bulkhead against bad policy emerging in the Senate and special interests trying to undermine these commonsense conservative reforms to promote competition.”

The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow in regulatory policy Diane Katz explains “The government’s monopoly on insurance coverage also politicizes the process of risk mapping, which now involves numerous special interests and various stakeholders.” The solution, she writes: “is to eliminate the subsidies and other giveaways that secure the government’s flood insurance monopoly.”