Congress Must Act, as National Flood Insurance Program Soon to Lapse

Statement by Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published May 30, 2019

WASHINGTON (May 30, 2019)—Congress is quickly nearing a May 31 deadline to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The most likely outcome is another short-term extension of the program, the 11th such extension in the last two years. But even that is in doubt as the House hasn’t been able to pass a much-needed disaster aid bill to which the NFIP extension is attached. 

Below is a statement by Rachel Cleetus, the policy director for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

“We hope that better sense prevails and Congress passes the disaster aid package soon along with the National Flood Insurance Program extension. Failing that, the program could lapse, making it impossible for new policies to be issued. 

“What’s really needed, however, is a program overhaul, not just an extension. Climate change is worsening inland and coastal flooding because of heavier rainfall and sea level rise. Communities that have weathered recent disasters, and those currently struggling as the nation copes with its wettest 12 months on record, would benefit from changes to the program that help them get back on their feet more quickly and be better prepared for future disasters. The program should provide better flood mapping, provisions to help low and fixed-income households buy insurance, and more funding for measures to reduce flood risks. 

“Congress must pass reforms to ensure a fair, affordable and climate-resilient program.”